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'• ♦ 


1908-1928 DIRECTOR OF THE 4 

4^\/^./^ ^y^-r^ A^ 



I. J^hat custom wills, in all things should ive do 't ! 
The dust an antique time would lie unswept, 

Coriolanus, II. 3. 

U. Instructed by the antiquaay times. 
He mu^t, he is, he cannot but be wise. 

Troihu and Cressida, II. 3. 












M.A., COR. MEM. S. A. SCOT. 





re>ju '^i^D?.:!© 



When requested to tmdertake the compilaUon of 
a book for the benefit of a Bazaar to be held 
at Blelack in Atigtost of this yea/r to provide 
funds for the erection of a Public Hall for the 
Parish of Logie-Coldstone and Braes of Cromar 
— a district in which^ ever since I became School- 
master there (now nearly forty yea/r s ago), I 
have had the warmest interest — although I could 
not refuse^ I felt the time at my disposal too 
limited to enable me to produce svxih a volume 
as I should have desired. I had therefore to 
content myself with such a work as is now pre- 
sented, the materials for which were already to 
hand, or not far to seek. Nevertheless, I m/ust 
hwve failed to have had it ready in time but 
for the kind and efficient assistance received from 
Mr, James M^Pherson Wattie, B.A,^ Lecturer, 
E.G. Training College, Aberdeen, in seeing the 
work through the press ; and the obliging and 
prompt attention bestowed on its preparation by 
the Messrs. Wyllie d Son^ and Mr. Thomson of 
the University Press. 

J. a. M. 

Manse of Dmnet, 
August, 1896. 



The district, a short account of the early history 
of which it is proposed to give in the following 
pages, is situated within the vale of Cromar, 
locally bounded by its four hills — Morven on the 
west. Press n' dye on the north, Ledilick on the 
east, and MuUoch on the south. By these and 
their connecting ridges the vale is so isolated 
from the surrounding straths and valleys that at 
an early period it was recognised as possessing a 
community of interests peculiar to itself ; and in 
some respects it continues to be so regarded to 
the present day. In these circumstances, although 
minor details have been generally confined to the 
parish of Logie-Coldstone and the district of the 
Braes, the more important events occurring any- 
where within the said four hills could not be 
excluded from notice, and have received some 



Derivation of Names, 


The name of a district is obviously its earliest 
definition ; and, though subject to many varia- 
tions and corruptions arising from change of 
language and other causes, it is always of interest, 
if ancient, as showing some striking feature in 
its topography, or commemorating some event in 
its history. In the district under consideration 
we have the names of two ancient parishes — 
Logie and Coldstone. In regard to the meaning 
of the former there is no difficulty. 

LoGiE is a derivative of an old Gaelic word, 
Lagan, and means a stretch of low-lying land, 
generally beside a stream, having high ground 
on both sides — just such a strath as lies between 
Culblean and Knockargety, locally known as the 
Bumside of Logie. At first the name was applied 
only to this little district ; but after a long time 
the district became a parish which embraced a 
much larger area. Of this we shall have to speak 
afterwards. Meantime we observe that the name 
would be descriptive of a great many localities in 
Scotland. Accordingly we find no fewer than ten 
parishes called Logie, besides a great number of 
gentlemen's residences scattered over both High- 
lands and Lowlands. In order to prevent our 
Logie from being mistaken for any of the others, 
it came to be distinguished as Logie-in-Mar, 
shortened into Logie-Mar, just as Logie-in-Buchan 

Derivation of Names, 

got shortened into Logie-Buchan. So much for 
the etymology of Logie. 

CoLDSTONE, though seemingly so plain, is much 
more difficult of explanation. Certainly it has 
nothing to do with a cold stone. It has been 
corrupted into its present spelling through several 
forms. Although Logy or Logie has always 
retained the same form, Coldstone has at different 
times been spelt in no fewer than five difterent 
ways — CoUessen, Colcoyn, Codilstan, Colquhold- 
stane, and the present. The reader will see that 
there is a great diflFerence between the first and 
the last, more, we think, than between the old 
Qaelic name and the present form. An eminent 
antiquary, the late Mr. Jervise, states it thus : 
" The first of these spellings appears in the Old 
Taxatio of 1275 a.d., in which the kirk is rated 
at twelve merks ; and the last of the old forms is 
in the Register of Ministers, etc., for 1574 A.D., 
when the Kirks of Coldstone, CouU, Kincardine 
O'Neil, and Banchory-Teman were all under the 
superintendence of one minister. In 1402, when 
Isabella, Countess of Mar and the Qarioch, gave 
the patronage and advocation of the Kirk of 
Coldstone to the Monastery of Lindores, it is 
described as * Codili^tane in Cra Mar * ; and, when 
it was added to the Chanonry of Old Machar in 
1424, it is called ' Coldstane '. Coldstone and 
Coull may be said to form respectively the west 
and east comers of Cromar; and, as water is 

Derivation of Names. 

much more abundant in the former district than 
in the latter, * Collesen * is probably the closest 
to the true etymology of the name, since the 
Gaelic compound Cul-esaan means a comer or 
district which abounds in streams." Now, we 
think this is very near the truth ; and you will 
also be of the same opinion, if you could picture 
to yourself what this north-west comer of Cromar 
really was like before the hand of man had ever 
put a drain in it ; what was, till lately, the Bogs 
of Einaldie, then a swampy loch with streams 
flowing into it from Groddie round all the hill- 
sides to Loanhead; the Bum of Migvie, then 
making its way first into a loch below the manse, 
and thence, with the outflow from Kinaldie loch, 
the Cunloch Bum, and other streams, falling into 
a large lake which extended from Mill of Newton 
to Milton of Whitehouse on the one hand, and 
round Tamcar on the other — if you could draw 
such a map of the district as this represents, you 
would say it richly deserved the name of Cul- or 
Gol-esacm, or the " watery comer ". We would 
propose but a very little change on Mr. Jervise's 
derivation.. We prefer atnuan to essan. Both 
mean streams ; but ess means a stream with 
rapids or waterfalls in it, while struan is the 
common name for a stream of any kind. 

CoLDSTONE then, by interpretation, means 
" the comer of much water and many streams " ; 
but when it became a parish it extended to other 

Prehistoric Period. 

comers, such as Watereme, Bogg, and Melgum, 
all well enough supplied with streams of water. 
The Gaelic names of both Logic and Coldstone 
are very old, probably dating back to about 
1100 A.D. 


Those found within this district are principally 
the following: Hill forts, strongholds, circular 
foundations, crannogs, and eirde houses; and 
such implements as balls, spear and arrow heads. 

Hill Forts. — Of these there seem to have 
been three principal forts — on the summit of 
Morven, on the Hill of Mulloch, and at Hillhead 
of Glentanar, all within sight of each other. Pro- 
bably they were also used, especially that on 
Morven, as watch towers, to signal the approach 
of an enemy from any quarter. The remains 
of other strongholds or entrenchments within 
the valley are discernible on Knockargety (" the 
treasure height") behind Ruth van, and at the Blue 
Cairn on the hillside near Pitelachie. The Cairn- 
mores had each one ; two were near Leys — one 
still waiting examination; there were several on 
the Moor of Dinnet, though some there and else- 
where have wholly disappeared. In short, every 
large roimd cairn may be fairly assumed to be 
the ruined remains of some old prehistoric fort 
or castle. 

CiBCULAB Foundations. — These are generally 

Prehistoric Period, 

found in clusters, and are the vestiges or larachs 
of hamlets, villages, or towns. They are of all 
sizes, from 100 feet to 5 or 6 feet in diameter, 
and quite circular in shape where the ground 
will permit of their taking that form. The 
smaller were the dwellings of the common people, 
and are most numerous around the big cairns, 
which were probably the strongholds of their 
chiefs, to whom they looked for protection 
when they were in trouble. They may be seen 
at Knocksoul, at Knockice, and especially at 

Crannogs. — Besides castles on almost every 
hill and hillside, these primitive people built even 
islands in lakes and morasses, called by anti- 
quaries crannogs, as the securest of all retreats. 
One of the best in Scotland is in Loch Einnord. 

EiRDE OR Earth Houses are common in 
Cromar, and need not be particularly described. 
Good specimens may be seen at Culsh and Migvie, 
and more ruined ones at Crossfold. One was 
very recently discovered and skilfully excavated 
by Mr. George Gauld, on the farm of Milton of 
Whitehouse in the Braes. Numerous others have 
been found in ruins ; and some, after being exca- 
vated and' described, have been again filled up. 
They have so much attracted the attention of 
archsBologists that we know the shape, size, and 
manner of construction of hundreds of them ; the 
difficulty is to conceive what purpose they served. 

Prehistoric Period, 

It is now generally agreed that they were places 
of concealment of some sort; but whether for 
human beings or for their goods and chattels, or 
for both, it would be hard to say. One writer 
facetiously represents their use in this wise : that 
when a band of wild barbarians invaded the 
country the inhabitants betook themselves to 
these earth houses, like rabbits to their burrows 
during a himt. This of course is a fanciful 
picture, and not quite true ; but for safety and 
concealment of some sort they were evidently 

Such, then, being the dwellings of high and 
low in remote prehistoric times, we naturally ask 
what sort of implements or weapons they used. 
Many of these are found within the district — 
cups, bowls, and knives for domestic use, some 
very rude, others artistically finished; axes, 
called celts by antiquaries ; hammers and wedges 
for cutting, splitting and shaping timber, some 
rough, some polished, but all of stone ; spear and 
arrow heads of flint for hunting and war, some 
small, others large, some of the former barbed 
and beautifully shaped ; round stones also for the 
same purpose, some plain, some with grooves 
round them, and some ornamented with figures 
and knobs, and of different sizes, from two to 
eight pounds in weight — these were the principal 
implements and weapons of the Stone Age, the 
era of the eirde houses, crannogs, hill forts, and 

Early Historical Period. 

other structures. The people did not wholly sub- 
sist on animal food, though most of the weapons 
found are those used in war and hunting. They 
had rude mills for grinding corn, at first merely 
a hollow scooped out of a gritty stone, with a 
round one for a pestle, till some ingenious person 
discovered the quern, a form of mill that has 
only lately gone out of use. And if' they had 
com to grind they must have had agriculture. 
Yes, and there remain traces of that, too, on the 
high grounds here and there, and even on the 
low hilltops. Some antiquaries have called the 
people who made and dwelt in these crannogs 
and eirde houses Troglodytes, some call them 
Picts, and some maintain that you may still see 
a few of their descendants in the Hebrides, where 
they go under the name of Sgalag, slaves, or 
stinking fellows. 


Up to this time nearly all that we can learn 
from the remains left us is mere guesswork. We 
now come to matters of fact, — we do not say of 
truth altogether, for there are legends and tradi- 
tions even in historical records that are only to 
be believed so far. The ecclesiastical history is 
always the earliest ; for Churchmen were the first 
to know anything about letters and learning, 
and they, of course, concerned themselves first 
and chiefly with their own affairs, and these 

630 A.D. Early Historical Period, 9 

were necessarily the conversion of the heathen 

About the year 630 A.D., St. Nathalan, whose 
principal mission field was Tullioh and the 
country round, had also a station at Coull ; but 
he has left no trace in the west end of Cromar, 
so that we may pass him over, and come to the 
next missionary associated with the district. 

St. Walock, or, as his name is written in 
Latin, Volocus, has a pretty long record in the 
Saints* Kalenda/r. The following is the sub- 
stance of what is written of him in the Aberdeen 
Breviary. The account assumes a certain coarse 
form of Christianity as existing amidst a bar- 
barous people, among whom the worship of idols 
still obtained. The legend, from the style of the 
Latin, is of great antiquity. St. Walock is a 
foreigner. He leaves his native land and his 
parents. He inhabits a little house woven 
together with reeds and wattles. Even the day 
of his death is recorded. '' More than 400 years 
after our Lord had suffered for us, while the 
Christian faith had not been received throughout 
all Scocia on account of the paucity of teachers, 
St. Volocus (Walock) the bishop, a distinguished 
confessor of Christ, is said to have flourished 
with remarkable miracles in the northern parts 
of that country, and to have chosen for himself 
a place of dwelling among the high rocks. He 
followed the example of our Lord as far as the 

lo Early Historical Period, 

frailty of his nature allowed, voluntarily sub- 
mitting himself to the greatest hunger, thirst, 
and cold, that in this life he inight satisfy for his 
own sins and for those of others in his Church. 
For he preferred a poor little house, woven 
together with reeds and wattles, to a royal 
palace. In this he led a life of poverty and 
humility, on all sides shunning the dignities of 
the world that he might achieve to himself a 
higher reward in heaven, and for eternal guerdon 
receive a perpetual crown. But the race whom 
he preferred to convert to the faith of Christ, 
and whom actually by his preaching and ex- 
hortation he did convert, no one would hesitate 
to describe as fierce, untamed, void of decency 
of manners and virtue, and incapable of easily 
listening to the word of truth, whose conversa- 
tion was rather that of the brutes that perish 
than of men. For they had neither altar nor 
temple, nor any oratory in which they might 
return thanks to their Creator, but, like brute 
beasts, were given to eating, sleeping, and gorg- 
ing.'* . This is a deplorable character given to the 
Pictish population of the days of our eirde 
houses, crannogs, and hill forts ; but probably it 
is not very far from the truth. The legend pro- 
ceeds: "Nor in the meantime, by the divine 
power, were wonderful miracles wanting in their 
presence ; but, notwithstanding that these miracles 
belonged not to the human race, but were of God, 

733 A'^- Early Historical Period. 1 1 

more than I can count were by the means of 
blessed Volocus converted to Christ. At length, 
in extreme old age, on the fourth day before the 
kalends of February, with angels standing around, 
his soul passed away to Christ ; and in his honour 
up to this time the parochial churches of Tumeth 
and Logy, in Mar, are dedicated." Bishop Forbes 
of Brechin, the editor of the Brevia/ry, adds : " In 
the popular rhyme we have this commemoration : 

Walack-fair in Logie Mar 
The thirtieth day o' Januar '*. 

The old parish of Tumeth is now included in the 
parish of Glass. The Church historian, Came- 
rarius, assigns his death to 733 A.D., and places 
his mission at Candida Casa (which is probably 
Braemar), as well as in Balveny, Strathdon, and 
Mar. '' Two miles below Beldomy, in the parish 
of Glass, are St. Wallach's Baths, a ruined chapel 
ciOled Wallach's Kirk, and St. Wallach's Well. 
The w^ till very lately was visited as a place of 
pilgrimage." This practice was only put a stop 
to by the Presbytery of Strathbogie. 

The only monuments in Cromar that can with 
any degree of probability be referred to the age 
of St. Walock are the sculptured stones. One of 
these was found and for long stood on the north 
shore of Loch Einnord, but is now removed to 
the policies of Aboyne Castle for safe preserva- 
tion, and wisely so, seeing what a sad fate has 
overtaken some other relics of antiquity in the 

12 Early Historical Period. 

Kinnord quarter. Another of the same age, or a 
little older, is the sculptured stone in the church- 
yard of Migvie. Both are figured in the Sculp- 
tv/red Stones of Scotland, There is also the 
rude unsculptured monolith beside the gate of 
the churchyard of Logie, still known as St. 
Walock's Stone, thus preserving the Saint*s name 
in the traditions of the people. It was, however, 
never honoured with superstitious observances, 
as the well at Beldomy was, though St. Walock's 
Fair was observed as a high holiday till very 
lately. But that also is going out of fashion, if 
it has not already gone entirely. 

It would, however, be a mistake to suppose 
that the heathen Picts, or Pichts (which latter 
form has a sinister look about it, being too like 
the Gaelic word for thieves), were so very 
ignorant of art as the Brevia/ry describes them, 
and that they knew nothing about stone sculp- 
ture till they were taught it by the early Chris- 
tian missionaries. Their skill in forming spear 
and arrow heads and polishing celts would go far 
to prove the contrary ; and we have still better 
proof in the sculptured stones of pagan times, 
only one of which is known to be within the four 
hills of Cromar. It was found on the Tomchar 
Hillock, which means " the chair-mound " and is 
supposed to have been the site of the High Court 
of Justice. It was carefully preserved for some 
time by being built into a wall near the public 

Early Historical Period, 13 

road, where it might be readily examined, and is 
now within the policies of Tillypronie House, 
under the safe guardianship of Sir John F. Clark, 
Bart. It contains only pagan symbols ; and, to 
judge from the clearness with which they are 
cut and the symmetry of the figures — ^whatever 
they may mean, — ^the art of sculpturing stone 
was far from being unknown to the Picts of that 
time. Nor were they altogether ignorant of 
letters, for they had a curious sort of alphabet, 
which we call " Ogham," which they incised on 
stones. If they wrote on any other material it 
has perished. Stones were their books. After 
much study learned antiquaries have contrived 
in part to decipher the writing. At their head 
in this department is the Right Hon. the Earl of 
Southesk, K.T., LL.D., who thus expounds the 
writing on the Aboyne stone:—** (The body) of 
the son of Talore, Fineach of Aber-F(o)-tha, rests 
here". This is the only Ogham stone known in 
the west of Aberdeenshire. 

There is a remarkable sculptured stone, which 
may easily escape the attention of visitors, in the 
churchyard of Coldstone, and which is thus 
noticed by Mr. Jervise: **The churchyard of 
Coldstone is situated on the south side of a hiU 
from which there is a good view of Cromar and 
the surrounding country. A granite stone, about 
24 by 12 inches in size, roughly dressed on one 
side, presents a beautifully incised cross within 

14 Early Historical Period. 733 a.d. 

an ovaL It is an object of considerable anti- 
quity, and had probably marked the grave of an 
old ecclesiastic." Mr. Jervise was so impressed 
with the appearance of this stone that he made a 
drawing of it and had it inscribed on the cover 
of his volumes of Epitaphs and Inscriptions. 
While we are quoting from him we may give his 
measurements of the old church : " The site of 
the kirk, which can still be traced, is about 58 
feet in length by about 30 in width, and has a 
chancel or burial aisle on the east of about 26 by 
30 feet in size ". One of our most learned anti- 
quaries, the late Dr. Joseph Robertson, was of 
opinion that the stone belonged to the eighth 
or ninth century, or, in other words, is about a 
thousand years old. If it is of this great age, it 
might have been coeval with St. Walock, who 
died, as we have seen, in 733 a.d. But it is not 
likely that it had any intimate connection with 
him, for it is of the lona or Culdee type ; and, so 
far as we know, he did not belong to that 

We now come to the reign of Alexander III. 
(1239-1286 A.D.), a time of great prosperity in 
Scotland. The Norsemen bad been conquered 
in the great battle of Largs (1263) ; the kingdom 
enjoyed peace within its borders; trade and 
agriculture flourished ; the barons grew rich, and 
made such gifts to the Church that it grew rich 
also. It was then that the country was divided 

I200 A.D. Early Historical Period, 15 

into parishes, the extent and boundaries of which 
depended upon the lands belonging to the great 
lords and their vassals. Hence many of them 
have curious shapes and detached portions. 
Logie-Coldstone is not singular in this respect, 
though not so scattered as some of its neigh- 
bours. Besides parishes, there were in various 
parts of the country, mostly in towns and 
populous places, great ecclesiastical establish- 
ments — cathedrals, abbeys, monasteries, canon- 
ries, and such like. Very wealthy they were ; 
kings and nobles made them great gifts of lands 
and tithes for the right of sepulture or burial 
within their consecrated ground, and for saying 
masses for the salvation of their souls. The 
manner of supplying ordinances in the churches 
was this : — Each parish had its own property in 
lands and tithes, the patronage of which belonged 
to the great lords of the district, who generally 
gave it in charge to one of these ecclesiastical 
establishments on condition of its being respon- 
sible for the supply of ordinances. This obliga- 
tion could be easily performed, as there were 
always in such places a large number of unem- 
ployed priests and monks. Thus we find that 
about the year 1200 a.d. Gilchrist, the then Earl 
of Mar, gave the Church of Logic to the Priory 
of Monymusk, which he had himself recently 
founded and largely endowed with the benefices 
of other churches. But his successor, Duncan, 

1 6 Early Historical Period. 

Elarl of Mar, took it from that priory and gave it 
to Old Machar (1239-44), and provided that his 
body should be buried in that cathedral. 

This Gilchrist, Earl of Mar, was one of the 
greatest men in the kingdom in the reign of 
William the Lion ; and it would seem that it was 
in his time (1178-1211) that a long-standing 
dispute between the Earls of Mar and Allan Dur- 
ward, another of the Scottish magnates, was 
brought to a peaceful conclusion, Durward getting 
the superiority of all the lands between the Dee 
and Don from the parish of Skene westward to 
the parish of CouU, where he built a great castle, 
the ruins of which may be seen to the present 
day ; and Gilchrist, Earl of Mar, retaining pos- 
session of both Dee and Don Valleys from Bogie 
and CouU upwards. He had his principal resi- 
dence at Kildrummy ; but when Allan Durward 
built at CouU he built at Migvie. It is not 
known whether this was for friendship or for 
defiance, but the Earls of Mar ever afterwards 
took their tenants in Cromar bound to appear 
three times a year at a head court to be held 
{apud lapideTu de Migveth) at the stone of 
Migvie. Much inquiry has been made as to what 
stone was meant and where it was situated. The 
eminent antiquary, the late Dr. John Stuart, did 
not think that the sculptured stone was meant ; 
the writer is of a different opinion. 

1275 A'°' ^^ ^^'^ Taxatio, 17 


We have now come to the period when parishes 
were attached to their respective churches, and 
the secular history properly begins. The churches 
were before the parishes, the origin of which was 
due to a desire to accommodate the people and 
prevent disputes about ecclesiastical rights and 
privileges. Thus a specified district was given to 
every church vicar or priest, beyond which his 
jurisdiction did not extend ; and this district was 
called a parish. From the old charters we learn 
that there were five such parishes set apart in 
Cromar, viz,, CouU, Tarland, Migvie, Coldstone, 
and Logic. 

To some extent at least the area of a parish 
depended on its valued rental, while the boun- 
daries, as we have said, were mainly determined 
on proprietary considerations. For the purpose 
of ascertaining the valued rental, the king caused 
an estimate to be made, primarily for raising a 
tax, but also for such local objects as regulating 
parish areas. This measure or act is now known 
as **The old Taxatio". We give a few of the 
values of neighbouring parishes, mainly to show 
the curious spelling of some, and tlie change of 
name of others, as recorded in this very ancient 
document of date 1275 a.d. : — 

Kyndrouchit (Braemar), valued at 3J merces. 
Creychyn (Crathie), „ 7 „ 




























1 8 TA^ Battle of Culblean, 1335 a.d. 

Kynmuk (Glenmuick), valued at 12 

Brass (Birse), „ 

Migmarr (Midmar), „ 
Clony (Cluny), 

Loychel (Leochel), „ 

Cussheny (Cushnie), „ 

Taruelun (Tarland), „ 

Migveth (Migvie), „ 

Kynbethoc (Towie), „ 

Inuernochtyn (Strathdon), „ 
Cule (CouU), 

Colessen (Coldstone), „ 

Logyn Rothuen (Logie), „ 

In regard to the last, it has to be observed 
that Rothuen or Riven, the derivation of which 
is Ruth-Ben or fortified hill, was in early ages 
the most important place within the parish of 
Logie, which is nearly as often called Logie 
Ruth van as Logie Mar; and indeed to the 
present day it gives its name, **The Dauch of 
Riven," to what was a very considerable portion 
of the ancient parish. It is also associated with 
the next historic event that occurred within 


This decisive action, which has been described at 
some length in the History of Loch Kinnorct, 
took place on St. Andrew's Day (30th Novem- 
ber), 1335. It may be said to have settled the 
war between England and Scotland for a genera- 
tion. The opposite commanders on the occasion 

The Battle of Culhlean, 19 

were David Comyn, Elarl of Athole, on the 
English side, and Sir Andrew Moray, the Regent, 
on the side of the Scots. Comyn, Earl Davy, as 
the historian Wynton calls him, marched from 
Athole with 3000 men to attack the Castle of 
Kildrummy and capture King Robert Bruce's 
sister, the wife of Sir Andrew Moray, who then 
held the castle with only a small force. Sir 
Andrew was himself in the south of Scotland at 
the time ; but, hearing that his wife was besieged 
in Kildrummy, he made all haste to come to her 
relief. Elarl Davy got word of it, withdrew his 
army from the siege, and tried to avoid the 
Regent by a rapid march by the Deskrie, over 
the Birk hill, through Coldstone, and on to Cul- 
blean, where darkness overtook him, and where 
he rested his soldiers for the night. Meantime 
Sir Andrew pushed on with forced marches, and 
reached the Ha' of Ruthvan a little before mid- 
night. He could see the bivouac fires of the 
Athole men on the opposite slopes of Culblean 
just beside the path that leads over the hill. He 
lighted no fires himself, but refreshed his men — 
to the number of 800 — in the big Ha', made a 
circuit round by Carew and Galton, and came on 
the enemy from behind in the grey of the morn- 
ing before they were aware of his approach. The 
fighting was desperate for a short time, but the 
victory was complete. Earl Davy was slain 
fighting bravely after all hope was lost ; but his 

20 Feudalism, 1500 a.d. 

followers ran for their lives and hid themselves 
in the wood, so that many of them escaped, Cul- 
blean being then covered with oak« and birches 
from Cambus O'May to the Red Bum. 

It is a long time before we again meet with 
the name of either Logie or Coldstoue in connec- 
tion with any event of public importance. The 
country was quiet. It was a great way from the 
Elnglish border, where raids and forays were still 
frequent ; and the plundering caterans from the 
hills, though occasionally troublesome, did not 
keep the peaceable and industrious in much 
alarm. A hundred years later they became much 
more formidable. The state of society in such 
country parishes as Logie-Ck)ldstone was feudal 
to the core. There was the great lord superior, 
who at that time (1434-1565) was a member of 
the royal family, the dignity and estates having 
been usurped by the Crown on the failure of a 
male heir, and bestowed first on a court favourite, 
and then assumed as a title belonging to the 
royal family. During this time, as may well be 
supposed, this royal personage did not often visit 
his north country estates. Next under him were 
the big lairds, who held their lands under charters 
granted by him, and bonds of man-rent, i.e., 
obligations to give military service when re- 
quired. They were pretty independent, however, 
and did very much as they pleased. Under them, 
again, were a set of bonnet lairds, who held their 

Feudalism, 21 

propertieH under the same conditions. Their 
services were oftener requii'ed. In all tribe or 
district quarrels they took, and were ready to 
take, an active part. Under them, again, were 
the tacksmen, gentlemen farmers, who would not 
put a hand to any kind of work, but had servants 
to do it all. They held their farms and grazings 
under leases, but their military obligation was 
not to their own immediate landlord, but to his 
chief or superior. They paid rent to their land- 
lord, but man-rent to their chief. Then, lastly, 
the tacksmen sublet a great part of their hold- 
ings to numerous crofters and cottars, who paid 
rent mostly in kind — service, grain, meal, hens, 
sheep, and oxen. Of money they had scarcely 
any, and had but little use for it. They were a 
quiet-living and industrious class. But there 
was another not so peacefully disposed. They 
had no fixed place of residence, but went about 
the (Jountry begging, poaching, and thieving. 
Sorners or masterful beggars they were called. 
Their hands were always in some mischief. If a 
raid or a midnight spulzie was on foot, they were 
the men. If an insult or injury was to be 
revenged, they were ready to be hired for that 
also ; indeed, there was no deed of darkness or 
blood that some amongst them were not equal to 
the perpetration of. When they committed any 
robbery, or spulzie, as they caUed it, and were 
pursued, they fled to the hills, whither it was not 

22 Feudalism. 1500 a.d. 

safe to follow them. The landed gentry and 
chiefs, too, often found employment for them ; so 
that they were in some measure protected and 
patronised by those in high places. Further, to 
defend themselves from each other's invasions, 
chiefs not unfrequently entered into leagues or 
obligations, whereby they put themselves under 
the protection of some great lord whom they 
were not bound legally to obey. Those engage- 
ments were known as bonds of fidelity, and were 
very common under the Stuart kings. We give 
one of date 1490 A.D. as a specimen, retaining 
the original spelling : — 

. "Be it kende till all men be thir present 
lettres, me Schir Jonhe Rutherfurd, of Tarlane, 
knicht, to be bundyne and straitlie oblist and be 
the fatht of my body leley and treulie bindis 
and oblissis me to the stratast stile of obligation 
tile ane nobill & mychtie lorde, Alexander lorde 
Gordon, in leill, ayfalde, & trew marirent, 
homage, & seruice, for all the dayis of his ly we, 
that I salbe redy to ryde ande pass witht my 
saide lord at his warning in al his lesum and 
honest querelis ande gif him leill ande trew con- 
sail ande his consall ande prevaties consale con- 
seill & abide & reman witht his lordschipe 
agannis quhatsumeuere, my allegeance to oure 
souerane lorde, & my seruice of law aucht to my 
forfeftouris alanerlie exceptit, because my said 
lorde is bundyn to defende me, and gif me ane 

1507 A.D. Land Charters, 23 

fee at his plesour, as in his bande maid to me 
tharapon mare fuUely is conteinit. In witnes of 
the quhilkis, I haue affixit my sell to this present 
lettres at Aberdeen the VIII day of December, 
the yer of God M. four hundretht & nynty 

It is to be observed that hardly one of the 
gentlemen giving these bonds could write his 
own name; and even the learned lawyer who 
drew out this one — ^and it is rather above the 
average — is scarcely to be complimented either 
on his orthography or his grammar. The great 
number of such documents which every baron's 
charter chest contains shows too painfully the 
insecurity of life and property in these old dark 

In the year 1507, when James IV. was King of 
Scotland, a Sir Alexander Elphinstone, who was 
a great favourite with the king, obtained from 
him a gift of certain lands belonging to the Earl- 
dom of Mar in Cromar. The charter, which is 
in I^tin, gives infeftment of the following pro- 
perties : — Inuemochty, Bellebege, with its mill, 
field, and woods, and the glennya of Glennochty ; 
Inuemechty, Ledmakey, Colquhony, Culquhary. 
These possessions were in Strathdon, the whole 
of which belonged to the Earl of Mar. To these 
were now added the following in Cromar: — 
Mekell Migvie, Easter Migvie, Tilliprany, Blelok, 
and Corrocrief. These are all names of places 

24 Land Charters. 1507 a.d. 

easily distinguished to the present day. Along 
with these the charter conveys many old privi- 
leges, some of which are better disguised under 
their Latin names : the right to hold courts, and 
to carry armorial bearings — bludewitis, mer- 
chetis mulierum, cum furca, fossa, sok, sak, tholl. 
theme, infangthief , outfangthieif,pitt and gallouss. 
These were the usual rights and privileges of a 
baron ; and so we find that these lands were to 
be conjoined in all time coming into a free and 
heritable barony, to be called the barony of 
Invemochty. We shall see how long it lasted. 
The charter is signed at Edinburgh, 8th August, 

Another charter follows, adding to the barony 
seventeen more possessions, all, however, on 
Donside. Such was the favour in which Elphin- 
stone was held by the king. These were the 
first lands he held in the north, and he does not 
seem to have been easily satisfied with getting. 
The second charter is signed at Edinburgh, 10th 
December, 1507. Another charter almost doubles 
the previous gifts. It bestows on this same 
Alexander Elphinstone and his wife, Elizabeth 
Barklay, large estates in the parishes of Kil- 
drummy and Auchindoir, with the custody of 
the Castle of Kildrummy, for which, however, he 
had to pay the Crown a good round sum as rent ; 
and the lands are neither raised into a new 
barony nor annexed to that of Invemochty. 

1520 A.D. Matters Ecclesiastical. 25 

Thus the old estates of the Earls of Mar were 
greatly dilapidated. Elphinstone's Cromar pro- 
perties (the two Migvies, Tillypronie, Blelack 
and Corrachree^ do not seem to have given him 
any trouble or to have received much attention. 
It was different with his last acquisition on Don- 
side. John, Lord Forbes, had for many years 
held the bailliewick of these lands of Mar, and 
would not give it up ; and so bad blood arose 
between the Elphinstones and Forbeses. The 
lands in Cromar were afterwards (1518) resigned 
by Lord Elphinstone, he receiving others on 
Donside in lieu of them. 

** In the year 1520 the Church of Kildrummy, 
with the Church of Logy in Mar, was leased 
by the Dean and Chapter of Aberdeen for 
£94 13s. 4d., Cloveth (now a part of Kil- 
drummie) being leased at the same time for 

A considerable portion of the lands in Cromar 
had for long belonged to various cadets of the 
House of Forbes. One of these, Alexander 
Forbes of Tollies (Towie), having died without 
male issue, his daughter, Margaret, disposed of 
such lands as pertained to her, namely, to John 
Coutts the lands of OuchtiroowUe, Taynlie, Stra- 
weltis, Tanamoyne, Stramor, with the mill and 
multuris of OuchtircowUe, and also the village of 
Blakmyll, with its mill and multuris ; and like- 
wise Ouchtiram, TuUocht, and Tannamoyne. 

26 Matters Ecclesiastical, 1549 a.d. 

This disposition was confirmed by a charter 
granted by Queen Mary, 7th September, 1660. 
This John Coutts of Wester CouU, as it is now 
called, afterwards married this same Margaret 
Forbes, so it is to be supposed she knew what 
she was doing in granting him a charter of her 
lands. ** Auchtercoul remained in the family of 
Coutts till 1729, when it was acquired at a 
judicial sale by William, second Earl of Aberdeen, 
for the sum of £66,937." Those who may wish 
to follow the chequered fortunes of the several 
branches of the family of Coutts may consult 
their Oenealogical MeTnoirSy published by the 
Cottonian Society, London, 1879. 

An event now (1649 A.D.) occurred that very 
intimately concerned the parish of Logic. " Glen- 
bucket was of old a chapelry of the Church of 
Logy in Mar. It was erected into a parish in the 
year 1473 A.D. by Bishop Thomas Spens, with 
consent of the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral 
and of Sir Edward Makdowel, Vicar of Logy. 
The deed of erection recites the perils of storms 
and floods which beset the inhabitants in passing 
and repassing between Glenbucket and Logie 
through an uninhabited tract of hill and waste, 
where in one day at Easter five or six people 
perished on their way to the Church of Logy. 
The Church of Glenbucket was to be served by a 
resident parochial chaplain, who was to have the 
church land of Chapeltone with the great tithe 

The Mar Family. 27 

as well of Chapeltone as of the town of Balna- 
both in Olenbueket and others, which belonged 
to Logy, but were leased by the Dean and 
Chapter of Aberdeen. He was also to have the 
altarages and other small emoluments, which also 
of old belonged to the Vicar of Logy; with 
twenty shillings Scots yearly from the Vicar of 
Logy in respect of his release from the cure of 
Glenbucket." This arrangement seems to have 
worked well till the year 1549, when the son of 
the chaplain, now dead, put in a claim for some 
of these lands as his personal property, to which 
the Vicar of Logy naturally objected. There was 
much disputing about it. In the first instance it 
was carried to the Bishop's Court, and from that 
to King James V.'s new Court of Session, and it 
was not settled till 1686, when the lords of the 
congregation— The Reformation having in the 
meantime taken place — relieved both parties of 
all trouble about either tithes or land. 

The year 1665 is memorable in the annals of 
the Earldom of Mar. As the greater part of the 
lands of Cromar and almost the whole of those in 
the parishes of Logic and Coldstone were of old 
subject to that earldom, and much of them held 
in personal property, it is necessary to take a 
brief retrospect of the fluctuations in the fortunes 
of that ancient family in order to understand 
their position and that of their vassals and 
tenants at the date at which we have arrived. 

28 The Mar Family. 

The male line of the old earls ended in 1377, 
when the estates and honours devolved on Mar- 
garet, the sister of the last earl. She married, 
William, first Earl of Douglas, who in her right 
became Earl of Mar. He fell at Otterbum, 1388. 
As there was no issue of this marriage, his sister, 
Isabella, became Countess of Mar. She married, 
first, Malcolm Drummond. He died, or rather 
was starved to death, in prison, by Alexander 
Stewart, son of the " Wolf of Badenoch," who 
next took the widowed countess prisoner in the 
Castle of Kildrummy, and forced her to marry 
himself. He then, as Earl of Mar in his wife's 
right, assumed the title and secured the revenues. 
At his death in 1435, the Crown claimed the 
earldom and lands, he being of the blood royal 
(the king's first cousin) and dying without legiti- 
mate issue. But the Crown had no right to it : 
it was a clear usurpation, the legal and rightful 
heir being Sir Robert Erskine, whose mother 
was directly descended from the old earls. He 
claimed it ; but it was too good a thing for the 
Crown to let slip through its fingers, and he 
was denied his undoubted rights. The earldom 
remained as a Crown property administered by 
the Lords-lieutenant of the north, who were the 
Earls of Huntly. For two generations they were 
virtually Earls of Mar, though they could not 
assume the title, that belonging to the royal 
family, or being usurped by them. The immense 

1565 A.D. The Mar Family. 29 

estates, from CouU 011 the Dee and Cloveth on 
the Don to the sources of these rivers, were as 
much under the control of the third and fourth 
Earls of Huntly as if they had been their own pro- 
perty. George, fourth earl, an ambitious man, 
made vigorous attempts to procure a royal 
charter conferring upon him the estates and 
honours of Mar, and was so stung with revenge 
when he discovered that both had been bestowed 
upon James Stewart, Queen Marys natural 
brother, that he rose in rebellion, and was slain 
in the battle of Corrichie, 28th October, 1562. 
James Stewart, better known as the " Good 
Regent Moray," held the Earldom of Mar for 
only four years dating from the bestowal of the 
charter, or three dating from the battle of Cor- 
richie. But during these three years he effected 
many changes on the estates, a few of which we 
have noticed. In the year 1565 — that at which 
we have now arrived in our narrative — he in- 
duced his sister, the queen, to confer it on John, 
Lord Erskine, to whom it of right belonged, after 
his family had been deprived of it for 130 years. 
After the restitution of the lands much had to 
be done in the way of count and reckoning for 
the intromissions with them during 130 years, 
and especially during the sixty years they had 
been under the management of the Earls of 
Huntly. The queen herself had intromitted with 
them. The following extract from an obligation 

30 The Mar Family, 

betwixt the new earl and the Abbot of Halie- 
rudhous will show the nature of some of these 
arrangements : — 

*' Be it kend till all men ... me Johne Lord 
Erskine that forsamekill as it hes plesit the 
Quenis Majestie to gif and dispone to me here- 
tablie the erldome of Mar and landis pertening 
thereto propirte and tenandrie as in the infeft- 
ment maid thairapoun at mair lenth is contenit, 
Nochttheles I bindis and oblissis me and my airis 
that I nor my airis sail neuer clame nor pretend 
entres no heretable right to the landis of . . . 
and the landis of Logy and Dawane within the 
boundis of Mar whilkis hes been pairt of the said 
erldome of Mar disponit alreddy by the Quenis 
Maiesty to Robert commendator of Haliruidhous. 
And declaris that the samin is nocht sail nocht 
nor suld nocht be oomprehendit under the said 
infeftment maid to me. ... In witnes heirof I 
have subscryvit thir presentis with my own 
hand 27th June 1565 at Dunkeld. 

** JoHNNE Lord Erskyne." 

So the lands of Logie and Dawan were made 
over to this Robert, Abbot of Holyrood. They 
were, however, not Church land ; the renuncia- 
tion makes them personal property. It is 
interesting to notice that this property, after 
having formed for long ages an integral portion 
of the estates belonging to the Earldom of Mar, 
has now (1565) been alienated from it and con- 

Reformation Period, 31 

stituted a separate property ; and that, after the 
lapse of three and a quarter centuries, during 
which it underwent many changes of fortune, it 
has again resumed the position assigned to it by 
Queen Mary, under Dr. Alexander Ogston, its 
present owner, with the appropriate name of 
Glen Da van. 

The first General Assembly of the Protestant 
Church of Scotland was held at Edinburgh in 
December, 1560, and proceeded to appoint minis- 
ters, exhorters, or readers to the vacant parishes. 
The north was much neglected. Ministers could 
be got only for a very few, exhorters were 
hardly more numerous, and readers were gene- 
rally appointed. A list has been preserved of 
date 1570, from which we extract the following, 
with their salaries : — 

CouU, George Lauson, reader, £20. 
Aboyne, James Cusnye, reader, £20. 
Towie, David Arrot, reader, £20. 
Crathie, Rychart Christesoun, reader, £20. 
Tullich, Lorence Cowttis, reader, £20. 
I Archibald Irwyn, reader, £16. 
irse, \ ^„(jpQ Hoige, reader, in his rowme. 
Glentanner, Johnn Ross, reader, £16. 
Glenmuick, Archibald Wilsoun, reader, £16. 

/ Henry Spark, reader, £16. 
Coldstone, < David Stewart, reader, in his rowme, £20. 

' Novr., 1570. 

Logiemar, Arthur Skene, reader, £16. 
Braemar, James Hanye, reader, £20. 

32 Reformation Period, 

Tarland, John Irwyn, reader, £20 (left the office in 

Novr., 1570). 
Migvie, James Ross, reader, £20, since the said time. 
Mr. Robert Skene, exhorter, £40. 

In a fragment, of date about 1572, setting 
forth the value of churches "which were not 
annexed to the Cathedral, and so belonged not to 
the Chapter " of Old Machar, the value of the 
Vicarage of Logymar is set down at £5 48. 4d. ; 
whilst Caldstane, which did belong to that 
chapter, is rated at £4. The neighbouring 
vicarages entered in the roll as belonging to the 
cathedral are Kincardine O'Neil, valued at 
£5 4s. 4d., and Strathdon, at £6 13s. 4d. ; and 
those not belonging to the cathedral are CouU, 
at £3 4s., and Aboyne, at the same sum. It is 
believed that this valuation was made at the 
Reformation in order to ascertain the value of 
Church property belonging to the great religious 
houses at that time. 

In another estimate (used a little before the 
Reformation) it appears that of the thirty-two 
churches then reckoned in the Deanery of Mar, 
fifteen were situated within the bounds of what 
is now the Presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil ; of 
these there are nine which are not assigned to 
any of the great ecclesiastical houses. The other 
six are — 

Braemar, belonging to Monymust Priory. 

Aboyne, „ The Knights Templars. 

Tullich, „ „ „ 

Post 'Reformation History. 33 

Tarland, belonging to St. Andrews. 

Migvie, „ „ 

Coull, „ Aberbrothock Abbey. 

These patronages, however, frequently changed 
hands. The Old Taxatio (1275) has ah-eady 
been referred to. 

*' For several years after the Reformation the 
ancient ecclesiastical division into dioceses seems 
in some instances to have been so far retained " ; 
but in the year 1567 synods and presbyteries 
were constituted over the whole country, and 
before 1572 all the parishes were supplied with 
either ministers, exhorters, or readers, as already 

Thus the Reformation was accomplished. 


We now come to some secular matters. The 
feud between the Gordons and the Forbeses, 
begun at the battle of Corrichie (1562), was con- 
tinued with the utmost ferocity on both sides, the 
battle of Tillyangus, the burning of the Castle of 
Corgarff, when the lady of Forbes of Towie and 
her family perished in the flames, the two battles 
at Aberdeen, and the slaughter in the Church of 
Kearn being some of the consequences ; nor did 
the havoc cease till the death, by the bursting of 
a blood-vessel, of the fiery ruling spirit in the 
strife, the famous Edom o' Gordon, which took 
place at Perth, 1580. 


34 Gordon-Forbes Feud. 157 1 a.d. 

Cromar was less embroiled in these troubles 
than most other parts of the county, yet it did 
not altogether escape. We have seen that Arthur 
Forbes, better known as " Black Sir Arthur/' 
had much land in Cromar besides what he had 
disposed of to Coutts of Auchterfoul. He was 
the prime leader of his party against the Gordons, 
being on the king s side, while they were queen's 
men, in the national struggle between Queen 
Mary and the party who sided with her son, 
King James VI. At the battle of Tillyangus 
(1571) Sir Arthur was slain, and, in virtue of an 
Act of Parliament passed in the same year to the 
effect " that the wiffis and bairns of all slain in 
our (the kings) service during the time of the 
late troubles should brook (retain possession of) 
their tacks, possessions, and lands for the space 
of five years," his lands thereby passed into the 
hands of his widow. But her title to share in 
this privilege was disputed so far as "Wester 
Migwie " and many other lands were concerned. 
The act js curious as showing the kind of com- 
pensation the Government offered for loss of life 
in its service. 

Although John Erskine, Earl of Mar, had 
agreed not to claim the lands of Logic and 
Davan, he had not given up his rights to the 
teinds and patronage of the Church, for we find 
him giving a lease of these to the Master of 
Elphinstone, Lord Elphinstone's son and heir, 

Witch Trials, ' 35 

** for nynetene yeiris following the Feist of 
Beltane " (Whitaimday), 1681. 


We come next to a subject with which the 
heritors and elders of most parishes in the county 
had much to do — ^the trial of witches. Some 
parishes were more vexed with these creatures 
than others. Lumphanan seems to have been 
particularly infested vHith them. The king 
(James VI). had a great horror of them, and 
ordered the Church to prosecute them even to 
the death with all diligence. He granted com- 
missions in favour of the provost and bailies of 
Aberdeen and the sheriff of the county for the 
purpose of holding courts for the trial of witches 
and sorcerers, and sent commissioners to every 
parish with orders to the minister and elders to 
examine all persons suspected of witchcraft, and 
to give up a dittay or accusation against them. 
" There can be no doubt that these unhappy 
wretches made use of the threats of which they 
were accused, and vaunted and even believed 
that they were possessed of power sufficient to 
carry them into effect; in fact, that they per- 
formed the * cantrippis ' and charms mentioned in 
the trials." In short, if they were not real 
witches, it was no fault of theirs. The commis- 
sicHier who was sent to Logic and Coldstone by 

36 Witch Trials. 1597 a.d. 

the Earl of Huntly, who was the sherift of the 
county, waited first, as in duty bound, on the 
Laird of Blelack, who replied in the following 
letter :— 

** My Lord, — Efteir my humble commenda- 
tioun with seruice, forasmickle I haiff resauvit 
your lordship s lettre for to bey ansuerable for 
ane woman off myne, callit Bessie Paull, quhilk 
I suld haif done one your lordships letter, 
quhidder I haid gottine ane charge be ane offiser 
of nocht, and with better will, becausse it is to 
your lordships justice. As to your lordships 
charge I gat fra your lordship, to assist your 
lordships officer, sic moyene as I culd do for the 
tyme I did, as he cane declair to your lordship, 
for the tyme was schort, and he culd nocht do 
mekill in that tumis, quhill he had spokin sum 
off thame that knew thair names. Nocht forder 
at this present to truble your lordship with 
forder letter, bot the etemall God be your lord- 
ships keiper. From Blelak, the secund day of 
Aprill, 1697 yeris. 

** Be your lordship, to be commandit with 

•* Jhone Gordoune of Blelak. 

" To my were guid lord and maister, my 
lord the Erll off Huntlye." 

In accordance with the message from Lord 
Huntly, Mr. Gordon of Blelack called a meeting 
of the heritors and others of the parish of C!old- 

Witch Trials. 37 

stone, which took place within the church, as 
the following minute shows : — 

" At the Kirk of Coldstone, the 10th of April 
1597. In presence of Patrik Forbess oif Pittal- 
lochie ; Jhonne Forbess, in Mylne off Melgoune ; 
Arthour Skene off Tulloche ; Alexander Forbess 
in Dawanche; George Forbess in Melgoune; 
Alexander Forbess ther ; William Forbess in 
Kinnaldie ; Thomas £lmislie, in Litle Grodie ; 
William Reid, in Coldstone; Jonne Tun, in 
Balymoir, all elderis off the perroche of Cold- 
stone ; the which day being charged by John 
Coutts, messenger at arms in our Sovereign 
Lords name, by a commission given and granted 
to the sheriffs, provost and baillies of Aberdeen 
to give up dittay (accusation) upon all suspected 
persons of witchcraft ; for obedience whereof 
we have convened at the Kirk of Coldstone, 
and taken such trial as we find upon Kath- 
erine Ferusche's dittay, given up by the elders 
before named. IteTriy she being in James Lakies's 
house used the Devil's sorceries, the space of 
eight years bygone, a man, called Alexandr 
Welche, came into the house upon whom thou 
cast thy sorcery and he died. IteTriy likewise 
thy own son confessed, at his death in Aber- 
deen, that thou had promised him, by in- 
formation of the Devil, that his blood should 
never be drawn, and this he confessed before he 
was hanged. Itemy suchlike, thy son and thou 

38 Witch Trials. 

discorded, and thou said it should be his best day 
that ever he should live. Item, suchlike, thou 
cast upon Robert Fyiff's wife such devilrie, 
whereof thou was taken and holden two days 
bound by the same man, until thou took it off, 
and thou made her free therefrom. IteTn, such- 
like, George Rychie being sick thou came to look 
at him, and promised to his mother to take off 
the sickness, and thou laid it on his sister, 
whereof she died thereafter. Item, when thou 
and the good wife of the Bogg being in the 
house of the Bog, thou delivered to her a tablet, 
making devilry and sorcery and told her to keep 
that tablet and hang it about her daughters* 
necks, aye, and until they. were married. Itern, 
then thou delivered to her a ring, and she has the 
same both together hanging yet Item, then the 
said Elspet Forbess, good wife of Bogg, sent to 
William Forbess, Scheill, being six miles off, and 
bewitched his oxen, going in his plough, whereof 
there died three that year. Item, suchlike, 
Spaldairg confessed at her being put off (hanged) 
that she and Trachak received a hundred merk 
from the good wife of Bogg to make witchcraft, 
to cut away William Forbess's com every year. 
Item, suchlike, the said Elspet Forbess of Bogg 
received a belt from Spaldairg, and the said 
Spaldairg told her, in case that belt wore away 
bearded men should greet, and there was a spirit 
in that belt that spoke and whosoever would put 

Witch Trials, 39 

it about them the Devil should take them. Item, 
suchlike, the said Elspet Forbess caused her own 
husband to bring sorcery out of Cloak (Qlen- 
millan, in Lumphanan) between his shoulders, 
which was his own death, and the mark was 
red where it lay as long as he lived, and broke 
out continually and turned black till he died, 
* and he cryit ay to straik it wi' reme for the 

Katherine Ferusche suffered at the stake at 
Aberdeen a few weeks after, as is recorded in 
the Burgh Records. Very few indeed were 
acquitted, but the following minute gives an 
example of one. 

** Minute of Meeting at the Kirk of Logie- 
in-Mar. The 10th and 17th days of April, at 
the Kirk of Logie-Mar, 1697 years. 

" * The which day in the assembly of the elders 
within the said kirk with advice and concur- 
rence of various other honest and capable per- 
sons, parishioners and others dwelling near the 
said parish. The names of the elders are Jhone 
Gordoun of Blelak : James Gordoun, in Broym- 
hill ; James Boss, in Logye ; George Glas, in 
Ballnistraid ; George Masoun, in Over Ruth vane ; 
Villiam Cowtis and George Makcomye, in Nether 
Ruth van ; Jhone Blak, in Corrachrie ; quha being 
convenit, with concurrence of James Gordoun of 
Pronny ; Alexander Gordoun, in Kenmaris ; Alex- 
ander Smith, in Ballnistraid ; Donald Barrie, 

40 Witch Trials, 

Allan CJowttis, Auchan Glass, in Over Ruthvane ; 
Villiam Gordoun, John and Alexander Mak- 
comeis, Villiam Gillanderis and Villiam Vischart, 
in Nether Ruth van ; Jhone Tumour, in Carrow ; 
Thome Mechell, in Vester Blelak ; Robert Fyf , at 
the Miln thair ; James Ross, Villiam Gig, and 
Duncan Fyf, and Robert Mill, in Corrachry.* 
The said elders and forenamed persons being also 
charged by John Coutts, messenger-at-arms, in 
our Sovereign Lord's name, by virtue of a com- 
mission obtained by him from the sheriff, pro- 
vost, and baillies of Aberdeen, directed to the 
ministers and elders for trial, delation, and up- 
taking of dittay upon all persons reported on or 
suspected of witchcraft within the said parish in 
general, and in especial touching the trial, life, 
and conversation of Thomas Ego and Bessie PauU, 
in Graystane, and Beak Tawis, at the Bumsyd 
of Logy, who are already attached for the same 
crime of witchcraft. The said elders and others 
forenamed, being sworn the great oath to give 
up dittay faithful and true according to their 
knowledge, and being severally examined there- 
anent, depone by their conscience and oaths that 
neither of them knows any of the foresaid per- 
sons already accused, nor others within the said 
parish, criminal in any point of witchcraft, as far 
as they know. And in respect that none of the 
said elders could write, they have desired me to 
subscribe these presents and testimonials in their 

1586 A.D. The Farquharsons and Crornar. 41 

names at the Kirk of Logiemar, day, year, and 
place foresaid. 

"George Gordoun, redar at the kirk of 
Logymar, with my hand." 
Sederunt certified by 

" George Gordoun, reder at Logy, with my 

"Alexander Gordoun off the Cammoir 
with my hand." 
In the genealogy of the Farquharson family 
the several branches trace their origin from 
Finla Mor of Invercauld, who fell at the battle 
of Pinkie (1547). He was succeeded by five sons 
by his second wife, Beatrice Garden ; his eldest, 
William or Robert, being heir. The other four 
all became heads of cadet families. The exact 
dates of the acquisition of their several properties 
in Cromar, mainly lying in the parish of Cold- 
stone, we have not been able to ascertain. But 
in a curious document of raanrenty of date 1586, 
Donald Robertson, heir of Strowan and chief of 
his numerous clan, grants a bond of fidelity and 
military service to " the nobil and mychty Earl 
of Huntly," signed at Elgin 6th day of March, 
" M.Vc. four scor and five yeirs, before thir wit- 
nes, Jhon Gordoun of Petlurg, Thomas Gordoun, 
apparant heir of Cluney [the heads of the * Jock 
and Tam * Gordons], George Farquharson in Des- 
corye, and Master Frances Cheyne ". This George 
was the fourth son of Finla Mor, and came into 

42 Union of the Parishes, i6l8 a.d. 

the property of Deakry by marrying the heiress 

of it, Forbes. This is the first mention we 

find of the Farquharson lands in the parish of 
Coldstone ; and we know from other sources that 
Forbeses then possessed what were called the 
" Easter and Wester Baronies ". 

As showing the backward condition of the 
country in the beginning of the seventeenth cen- 
tury as regards postal arrangements, fords, and 
sanitary conditions, we quote an item of expen- 
diture from the Burgh Records of Aberdeen : 
" To Douguid, poist, for careing letteris direct 
fra the towne to Monimusk, Petfoddellis, Drum, 
Leyis, and person (parson) of Eincardin, desyring 
thame to keip thair watteris and fuirdis, and 
that thair tenentis resett na personis cuming 
frome the Forthe, for feir of the pest. 1 lb." 
Dated 1603 a.d. 

The parson of Kincardine was John Strath- 
auchine, or Strachan, a man of much consequence, 
being a leader in the Church Courts, a member of 
the Privy Council, and of the Court of High 
Commission. There were many Strachans in 
the Church at that time ; one, a relative of the 
parson of Kincardine, was minister of Logie- 
Coldstone, and. the first minister of the united 

The union of the parishes took place in 1618 
A.D., in jconsequence of the "paucity of the 
teinds ". After the surrender of the Church lands 

1630 A.D. Book of Annualrentaris, 43 

of Olenbacket, Logie was ill able to support a 
minister for itself, and was generally supplied 
by a reader. It was united to Coldstone by the 
Commissioners for the Plantation of Churches, 
17th July, 1618, as above stated, and was after- 
wards known in public documents as LoGiE- 



We now come to a document which shows in a 
forcible manner the financial condition of the 
country. It is designated The Book of the 
Annualrentaris of Aberdeen, and was compiled 
under the provisions of an Act of the Convention 
of the Scottish Estates, held at Holyrood 28th 
July, 1630. " By this statute an extraordinary 
impost or tax was ordered to be levied on the 
twentieth part free of all annualrents — that is, 
of the interest of all * moneys ' lent on bond on 
obligation to repay — beginning at the Feast of 
Martinmas, 1630." In fact, it is the first instance 
we have of the imposition of an income tax. 

We wonder how the business of the country 
was conducted without banks. There was indeed 
very little money in circulation ; most affairs 
were managed by barter, and rents were in great 
part paid in kind. All the same, some men got 
passing rich, and that not in flocks and herds 
merely, but also in real cash. When a tenant 
had' any money to spare, he went to the laird 

44 Book of Annualrentaris, 

with it ; and received from him a bond, or pro- 
missory note, the interest on the amount standing 
good for part of his rent, sometimes for the 
whole of it. When a property was sold, if the 
purchaser could not pay the whole price he made 
over a part of the land to the seller till the price 
should be paid in full. This was called a wddset. 
A wadset was also often given as security for 
money due by the proprietor of land for cash 
lent him on any account The lairds were really 
the bankers of the country, and these state- 
ments prove that they were credited with large 
amounts, from the great Marquis of Huntly 
downwards. From the declarations given in to 
the commissioners, so explicit are they, one could 
easily make out whether any particular laird or 
humbler person was or was not solvent We give 
one as a sample, and we take the minister of 
Logie-Coldstone's account : — 

Mr. James Strauchane, minister of Goldstone, declared 

that there was due to him :— 

By David Barclay of Matheris . . 2000 merkis. 

„ Robert Paul, burges of Aberdeen . 600 „ 

„ Patrik Strauchane of Kinnadie . 500 „ 

„ William Forbes of Pittelachie 100 „ 

„ George Gordon of Tullachowdie 200 „ 

„ Mr. John Reid, minister of Tarlan 200 „ 

„ James Gordon of Auchmull . 200 „ 
„ Mr. Johne Strauchane, minister of 

Midmar 100 . 1 . „ 

„ Mr. Alexander Gordon, minister of 

Glenmuik 100 „ 

Parish Ministers. , 45 

By John Beid in Ck)ldBtaine 100 merkis. 

„ Mr. Alexander Strauchane, minis- 
ter of Lumphanan . 200 ,, 
„ Sir James Gordon of Lesmoir and 
Alexander Qordon of Abir- 

geldie 1600 

Sum of free moneys, 5800 merkis. 

I have selected the above out of 324 statements, 
as showing that the minister was not in debt — 
there was no claim against him — that he had 
some money to spare, that he was ready to help 
his neighbours when they were in need of a little 
cash, that his neighbouring ministers were often 
in need and were helped, and that the big lairds, 
Lesmoir and Abergeldie, did not disdain to 
borrow from him. Of such a good and compara- 
tively wealthy man we might wish to learn 
something more. What further we know of him 
is also to his credit. After finishing his educa- 
tion (when he graduated A.M.) he became a 
Regent or Professor in King's College, Aberdeen ; 
he was appointed to Coldstone in 1608, but could 
not leave his chair in the College till next year, 
and there is some reason to believe that he held 
the chair for even another year. He ^as still 
minister of Logie-Coldstone in 1633, so that it 
was in his time, and not in that of Rev. Robert 
Forbes (as is generally supposed), that the union 
of the parishes took place. He is referred to by 
Orem, Spalding, and Bishop Forbes of Corse. We 
have, however, no account stating when or where 

46 Parish Ministers. 

he died His successor was his debtor in 1633, 
Alexander Gordon, translated from Qlenmuick 

We may here give some account of his prede- 
cessors since the Reformation. Readers, as we 
have seen, conducted such service as there was 
from 1560 to 1573. In 1574 Mr. James Reid was 
translated from Banchory to Coldstone, and he 
had to take charge of CouU, Kincardine O'Neil, 
Banquhory-Trinitie, and Birse. Of course he 
had the assistance of readers in these parishes, 
but he paid his own reader in Coldstone out of 
his own pocket, although he had only *' sax scor " 
lbs. (£10stg.)of stipend and the Church lands or 
glebe. He demitted his parsonage and vicarage 
in Coldstone and removed to Birse in 1576. In 
his time there was a resident minister (the only 
one recorded) at Logic. This was Mr. Alexander 
Youngson, who had also under his charge Tar- 
land, Migvie, Lumphanan, and Ek^t, his stipend 
being £6 6s. l^d. stg. : such straits were they in 
for ministers, and so little was there to give 

The Rev. James Reid's successor in Coldstone 
was the Rev. David Stratoun, of whom nothing 
more is known than that he had also Logic in 
charge, and continued till 1597. 

After him came Rev. James Lesk, translated 
from Lonlay. He had also Crathie in charge, and 
continued till 1601, perhaps some years longer. 

Money Lending. 47 

Next came Rev. James Strachan, of whom, aR 
Spalding says, ye have heard before ; and after 
him came Rev. Alexander Gordon, A.M., trans- 
lated from Glenmuick, Glengairden, and TuUich, 
who was admitted prior to 14th December, 1647, 
and was in office in 1652. 

Of those that followed we shall hear when we 
come to speak of the churchyard. 

A few more extracts from the Book of Annual- 
rentcuria may be given to show the rank of those 
that took money on loan. We have seen that 
Sir James Gordon of Lesmoir and Alexander 
Gordon of Abergeldie took a pretty heavy sum 
from the minister of Coldstone. These gentle- 
men, especially Sir James, were extensive bor- 
rowers, not because they were in need, for they 
were both rich as times went, but in order to 
make profit out of the money entrusted to them, 
just as a bank expects to make profit out of its 
deposits. It was the confidence which the public 
had in the honesty and means of these men that 
enabled them to borrow so largely. There were 
of course others who borrowed from necessity, 
but the sums lent them were generally small. 
" Thomas Gordon, at the Mill of Rippachy, 
declared that there was due him by Sir James 
Gordon of Lesmoir 1000 mks., and the same 
amount by John Leslie of Pitcapel." 

Millers are frequent lenders. Theirs was then 
a paying trade. " William Cruickshank (a tenant) 

48 Money Lending, 

declared that there was due to him by George 
Gordon of Newton 1000 mks." ''James Irvine 
(farmer) in Dowaltie declared that he had up- 
lifted the 300 mks. that was due to him by James 
Gordon of Balmoral, and that he had wared 
the said sum on his ' awin necessar affairis/ and 
had not lent it out again for annualrent." 

This James Gordon was of the lairds Gordon, 
cadets of the Abergeldie family, who were pro- 
prietors of Balmoral before it was sold to the 
Farquharsons of Invereye. 

"John Keith, son of Alexander Keith, por- 
tioner of Dufies, declared that there was due him 
by Alexander Gordon of Abergeldie 2000 mks., 
but that he was due to George Gordon of Tol- 
foudie 500 mks., and to Robert Farquharson of 
Finzeane 400 mks." 

** Johne Cowtis (Coutts) in Culairlies (farmer) 
declared that there was due to him by William 
Forbes, heir of Corsinday, 200 mks.; by Sir 
George Johnstoun of that Ilk 500 mks. ; by 
William Gordon of Abirgeldie 1500 mks.; by 
Thomas Paip, burges of Aberdeen, 1200 mks." ; 
and by other eight parties "the sum of 5300 

A well-to-do farmer this Johne Coutts. Thomas 
Paip was a wealthy merchant and money-lender 
as well as borrower. William Gordon of Aber- 
geldie was the laird's brother and successor. 

" James Irving in Cullairlie declared that there 

Covenanter Times, 49 

was due to him by Sir William Forbes of Cragy- 
var 600 mks. ; by Alexander Gordon of Abirgeldie 
300 mks.," and by others " a sum of 500 mks.". 

" Janet Skein (widow) declared that there was 
due to her by William, Earl of Errell, 15,000 
mks.; by John Turing (Turner?) of Foveren 
10,000 mks.; by Patrik Guthrie, minister of 
Logie-Buchan, 1300 mks.— in all 26,300 mks." 
A rich widow this! But she was due "to 
William CJoutts, younger, of AuchtercouU, 1200 
mks.; and to Johne Leyth of Harthill 400 mks.". 

We add a few examples of the money trans- 
actions of some persons of rank. 

" James Forbes, laird of Haughton, declared 
that there was due to him by George Buchan of 
Saak 3000 mks.; by Sir William Forbes of 
Monjonusk 1000 mks.; by Johne Leslie, elder 
and younger of Petcappell, 1000 mks." — in all 
5000 mks. ; from which there is to be deducted 
5000 mks. due by him to Mr. James Burnet of 
Craigmyln. "Summa free money nihil." Sir* 
Alexander Irwing of Drum is in the same posi- 
tion : and so are Alexander Straquhan, laird of 
Glenkindy ; the laird of Tillemorgan, the laird of 
Udny, and many others — quite penniless, if they 
are giving a true account of their affairs. 


We now come to notice events which raised 
great national commotions, but which in High- 

50 Covenanter Times, 

land or semi-Highland parishes, like those in 
Cromar, took a different form from that which 
agitated the country at large. It is amazing how 
little trouble — we might almost say how little 
interest — such parishes took in the great changes 
in the religion of the people consequent on the 
Reformation from Popery. There were no eccle- 
siastical tumults, no robbery of churches, no 
burning of cathedrals or monasteries. Many 
causes conduced to this. But the event gave 
occasion for the outbreak of deadly and wide- 
spread clan feuds that had been smouldering for 
years. In this part of the country it took the 
form of the Gordons against the Forbeses, 
queen's men against king's men. The mind of 
the common people never rose above or stretched 
beyond the clan feud. The Gordon-Forbes feud 
may be said to have ended with the death of Sir 
Adam Gordon (Edom o' Gordon) in 1580. 

In the days of the Covenanters, at which our 
story has now arrived, the same thing occurred. 
In these parishes the question was, not who were 
for the National Covenant and who were 
against it, but who were for the Lowlands and 
who for the Highlands. Covenanters and anti- 
Covenanters were the designations used, but the 
common people and most of the lairds and chief- 
tains knew little and cared less about the national 
question at issue — whether the king or the 
Parliament should be supreme — provided they 

Covenanter Times. 51 

were allowed to fight out their own clan and 
private quarrels after their own fashion. In the 
Western Islands and Highlands the Covenanter 
struggle assumed the form of a conflict for 
supremacy between the Clan Campbell and a 
combination of most of the other clans. In the 
eastern division of the north it was at first (for 
so many times were sides changed that families 
were often not distinctive of party) also a contest 
for supremacy between the Gordons and their 
allies on the one hand, and the Crichtons, 
Forbeses, Frasers, Keiths, and their allies on the 

Logie-Coldstone with most of Cromar, as a 
kind of border ground, suffered badly from all 
the belligerents. The old question of the ballad 
might here be asked : ** 0, wat ye how the ply 
began ? " To answer this we have to go back a 
few years. The burning of the house of Fren- 
draucht, when the Viscount of Aboyne, the Mar- 
quis of Huntly's favourite son, perished in the 
flames, may be said to have been the spark that 
set the whole north-eastern counties in a blaze. 
The Gordons believed that this deed of horrid 
cruelty was perpetrated by the Crichtons. Sides 
were taken in the prosecution that followed. 
Marauders and broken men were set loose to pil- 
lage and plunder wherever they chose. Caterans 
from the hills came down in masterful bands and 
carried away everything. "Armed with swords. 

52 Covenanter Times. 1635 a.d. 

bows, arrows, targets, hagbuts, pistols, and other 
Highland arms, they," as Spalding expresses it, 
" plundered the tenants of their haill goods, gear, 
insight plenishing, horse, nolt, sheep, corns, and 
cattle." The Crichtons and their friends, who 
were the worst sulierers, threw themselves into 
the arms of the Covenanters for protection ; and 
of course the Gordons sought the assistance of 
the opposite faction, the anti-Covenanters, giv- 
ing, as was alleged, protection and encourage- 
ment to the caterans. A band of the outlawed 
McGregors from Rannoch settled in Glenlivet and 
other Highland possessions of the Gordons, and 
laid the whole neighbouring Lowlands under 

This much it was necessary to premise in order 
to understand the position of parties at the out- 
break of the conflict. But we shall in tracing it 
confine our narrative to such events as our parish, 
or at most Cromar and Upper Deeside, were 
specially connected with, merely indicating the 
movements in other parts. 

In 1635 the Marquis of Huntly was summoned 
to Edinburgh to answer a charge laid against 
him of hounding on these McGregors and others. 
Though unwell he appeared, resting only one 
night at his house of Candycyle (Dee Castle) by 
the way, and attended only by a few friends and 
his page, a clever little fellow, John Gordon, 
otherwise called Swankie. His baillie, Donald 

Covenanter Times, 53 

Farquharson, of Monaltrie and Tillygarmont, had 
also been summoned to appear as ''airt and 
pairt" with his master, under a penalty of a 
thousand pounds, but he fled. The marquis and 
others were imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, but 
Donald Farquharson remained on Deeside to look 
after his affairs. 

The leader of the McGregors was the notorious 
Gilderoy, who lurked a good deal about Cul- 
blean, and concealed himself often from pursuit 
in the Cave of the Vat. He and his followers 
raided on the lands of the Covenanters without 
mercy. Sir William Forbes of Corse and Craigie- 
var, a prime Covenanter, suffered severely. But 
at his instance, in the month of February of the 
year 1636, before the season of spulzying had 
begun, eight of these McGregor " limmars ** were 
caught, sent to Edinburgh, and hanged. 

The marquis, being released from prison on 
account of ill-health, was carried in a litter on his 
way home as far as Dundee, where he died 25th 
June, 1636. He was the first marquis of the 
House of Gordon, and premier marquis of Scot- 
land. He had fought with and beaten the great 
Argyle in the battle of Glenlivet, 4th October, 
1594; had been exiled for a year or two; but 
returned and was made a marquis. At his death 
he was seventy-four years of age ; " in his youth 
a prodigal spender ; in his old age more wise and 

54 Covenanter Times. 

Gilderoy, on hearing of the death of his men 
by hanging, went and burnt the houses of the 
Athole Stewarts, who had been instigated by 
Craigievar to apprehend them. He and his band 
ranged over and ravaged the whole country from 
Argyle to the Garioch, but this year saw the end 
of his career. " He and live other limmars were 
taken and had to Edinburgh, and all hanged 

upon the day of July." He had been a 

great scourge to Cromar ; and, though it was now 
rid of him, he left a pack of his clan in the north 
that were well-nigh as daring and troublesome as 
himself. Spalding calls them Dugars — that is, 
the dark-haired, sharp-faced McGregors — to dis- 
tinguish them from another race that were light- 
haired — Gilderoy, Rob Roy, and othera 

Before a month had passed, undeterred by the 
fate of his kinsmen, perhaps in revenge for it, 
** upon the 8th day of August, John Dugar (there 
were at least two of that name) came with his 
companions to the Laird of Corse his bounds, 
and spulzied the ground ; and spulzied Mr. 
Thomas Forbes, minister of Lochell's house, and 
oppressed the king's lieges wherever he came " — 
in Cromar and other places. ** He would take 
their horse, kine, and oxen, and cause owners 
compensate and pay for their own gear. He 
gave himself out to be the King's man, and so 
might take and oppress the Covenanters hi 
pleasure." At one time, during the holding of a 

Covenanter Times, 55 

Bartle fair, he with his band swooped down upon 
the merchants and made them pay soundly. ** He 
took out of the Laird of Corse's bounds a brave 
gentleman tenant there and carried him with 
him ; and sent word to the laird, desiring him to 
send him a thousand pounds, whilk the Lords of 
the Council (the Parliament in Edinburgh) had 
granted to his (Forbes's) name for taking of 
Gilderoy, or then he would send his man's head 
to him." That the new marquis had a good deal 
of control over these banditti is evident from 
what followed. " The Laird of Corse rode shortly 
to Strathboggie and told the marquis, who 
quickly wrote to McGregor to send back Mr. 
George Forbes again, or then he would come 
himself for him ; but he was obeyed, and Forbes 
came to Strathboggie haill and sound upon the 
15 th of August (where the Laird of Corse stayed 
till his return) without pajonent of any ransom, 
syne returned home. This Dugar was slain 
afterwards,** and few were sorry. But there 
were other Dugars left behind, equally lawless 
and ferocious, and equally revengeful against the 
Laird of Corse. 

Scarcely had another month passed when 
another John Dugar McGregor ** and his accom- 
plices took Alexander Forbes, alias Plaqnie, out 
of his own house of Bogside, spoiled his goods, 
bound his hands, and took him sworn to pay a 
certain sum of money ; syne left him at liberty. 

56 Covenanter Times, 

He complained to the Marquis of Huntly, who 
made him free of his oath, for which he was ill 
requited when the war broke out This John 
Dugar did great skaith to the name of Forbes in 
Cromar and Leochel and some others, abused 
their bounds and plundered their cattle, because 
they were the instruments of Gilderoy*s death ; 
and the Forbeses concluded to watch him coming 
and going, and get him if they might. This 
made him oppress the Forbeses more than all the 
rest of the country." 

This state of matters could not be allowed to 
continue. The Estates sent an army north under 
Leslie and Montrose to quell the cateran and 
broken men and bring the marquis to terms with 
them. The leaders of the Covenanters at this 
time were Argyle and Montrose. The army came 
to Inverurie. Montrose and Huntly had a meet- 
ing, the result of which was that Huntly was 
carried prisoner to Edinburgh. Huntly thought 
Montrose had entrapped him, and never forgave 
him, though they were soon to be both fighting 
on the same side and in the same cause. 

Donald Farquharson of Monaltrie, the mar- 
quis's baillie, when Huntly was in Aberdeen, on 
his way to Edinburgh, went there to see him 
and get his orders for the time he might be 
absent. It was arranged that Monaltrie should 
take a quantity of muskets, pikes, and other 
armour belonging to the marquis away with him 

1639 A.D. Covenanter Times. 57 

to the Highlands. This he was doing when 
Alexander Strachan, Laird of Qlenkindie, a great 
Covenanter, came out against him, " and master- 
fully took them away from him, whereat the said 
Donald took great offence," and did not forget to 
pay him back when he got the opportunity. 

While Montrose was lying with his army at 
Inverurie, there came twelve men to him from 
the Earl of Argyle to say that there were 500 
Argyle men on their way to join him. Montrose 
sent the men back to thank Argyle, and gave 
orders to the 500 men to go and live on the lands 
of Pitfoddels and Drum. Accordingly they did 
so, a good many of them being billeted on 
Drum's tenants in Cromar. These Drum lands 
were afterwards acquired by the Earl of Aber- 
deen, and are still in part held by him. 

"About this time (May, 1639) Donald Farquhar- 
son and some neighbours of Brae of Mar came 
down to the Meams and plundered the Earl 
Marischall's lands in Strauchan, whereat the earl 
was highly offended," and little wonder, for war 
had not yet been declared ; and, though Marischal 
was a Covenanter, there was no open strife 
between him and Huntly. Donald, perhaps, had 
some little account of his own to settle with the 
Strauchan tenants. 

The first blood in the civil war was spilt at 
Turriff. It fell out in this wise. The Covenanters 
had resolved to hold a meeting there; and the 

58 Covenanter Times, 

" barons " — that is, the anti-Covenanting lairds — 
determined to oppose them. Each party met in 
military array, with a considerable following. 
Shots were fired and a skirmish took place, in 
which some were killed on both sides. The 
Covenanters had the worst of it ; and the barons 
being mounted pursued on horseback ; hence the 
affair was called " The Trot of Turriff". It took 
place on the 14th May, 1639. 

The barons, among whom was the Laird of 
Abergeldie, flushed with victory, rode to Aberdeen 
and carried their heads very high. They were 
there joined by Lord Lewis Gordon, the mar- 
quis's fourth son, who came down Deeside 
with some Highlandmen from Braemar, among 
whom was James Grant, the notorious outlaw 
and miu-derer, and his followers. They were 
about 500 in all, and on their way to Aberdeen 
took and spulzied the place of Durris, belonging 
to John Forbes of Leslie, a great Covenanter. 
There was little in the house in the shape of fur- 
niture or valuables ; " but they got good beer and 
ale, and broke up the meal gimels and baked 
good bannocks on the fire, and drank merrily 
upon the laird's best drink, and took away as 
mickle victual as they could carry ". This was a 
sample of spulzies generally; the depredators in 
this instance being the Farquharsons of Invereye 
and a few Gordons from the lands of Abergeldie. 
•* Donald Farquharson, still smarting under the . 

Covenanter Times. 59 

affiront put upon him by the Laird of Glenkindie, 
led this strong force from Durris across the 
country by Echt, Skene, and Monymusk, plun- 
dering the Covenanters' houses and lands all the 
way till they came to Glenkindie, which they 
utterly spoiled, but got not the laird at home." 

This was brave work ; after which they joined 
the barons near Aberdeen, and the whole, about 
600 horse and 1200 foot, marched up Deeside to 
Durris, intending to attack the Earl Marischal 
at Dunottar. The earl, however, did not wait 
for their coming, but marched out to meet 
them, having two brass field pieces in his train. 
Describing the Highland contingent, Gordon in 
his Scots Affairs says, " Aboyne, the late mar- 
quis's third son, who now took the command of 
the royalist army, was greatly blamed for taking 
such a man as James Grant by the hand. But 
(he adds) there was greater ground to speak 
against him by Aboyne's taking under his pro- 
tection one John McGregor, a Rannoch man bom 
(known by his Gaelic name of Johne Dow Geare) 
and a notorious robber; yet was he and his 
fellows, arrant thieves and cut-throats, taken into 
the party." These were the comrades of the 
Invereye men under Donald Farquharson, now 
styled Colonel In the action which followed 
they behaved as might have been expected. 
Gordon {Scots Affairs), a great supporter of 
Huntly and a stout anti-Covenanter, does not 

6o Covenanter Times. 

hesitate thus to write : " Some few shots did 
happen to light among these Highlanders, whereby 
two or three were either maimed or killed, which 
so frightened them, though they stood farthest 
off, that, without waiting any word of command, 
they ran off all in confusion, never looking behind 
them till they were got into a moss half a mile 
distant from the hill of Meager. Nor could they 
be withheld from running by any means or per- 
suasion of such as Aboyne caused to ride up and 
down amongst them for to reclaim them, albeit 
all in vain.*' When afterwards upbraided for 
their cowardice, they said they had come to fight 
against men with swords and muskets, but not 
against men who had got " muskets' mither," the 
term they applied to the two pieces of cannon 
brought against them. Thus ended the " Raid of 
Cowie *" in the total rout of the raiders. 

Of the conduct of the Highlanders during their 
stay in Aberdeen Spalding gives the following 
brief account : " John Dugar, of whom you have 
heard before, with his lawless followers (about 
twenty-four in number), was in this company, 
and lodged in Old Aberdeen in George King's 
house ; but he was shortly discharged as a runna- 
gate limmar, bloodshedder, and murderer ; and 
in whatsomever company he was the same could 
not well prosper, as was most evident. 

" James Grant, sometime rebel, and now re- 
mitted, came in with his followers (about the 

1640 A.D. Covenanter Times. 61 

same number) and takes up his lodging on 
Donside in Patrick Leslie's house. Donald 
Farquharson and his Highlandmen (500 in num- 
ber) also came to the towa Thir soul-less lowns 
plundered meat, drink, and sheep wherever they 
came ; they oppressed the Oldtown, and brought 
in out of the country honest men's sheep, and 
sold at the Cross of Old Aberdeen to such as 
would buy a sheep upon foot for a groat (four- 
pence). The poor men that owned them followed 
in, and bought back their own sheep again ; such 
as were left unslain (unsold ?) were for their 
meat." Such were Donald Farquharson s men ! 
Elsewhere the same painstaking and truthful 
annalist, though his political leanings were 
strongly in favour of Huntly and his party, states 
that his baillie's Highlandmen lived at free 
quarters and paid for nothing when they left, 
and Aberdeen was very thankful to be quit of 
them at any cost It is really not certain that 
Donald Farquharson did not owe lus death in 
Aberdeen, some years later, to the displeasure 
excited against his followers on this occasioa 

Meetings of Covenanters, meetings of anti- 
Covenanters, and plunderings by both parties 
make up the record for the rest of this — ^the first 
— year of the civil war in the north. 

So ends 1639. 

In the month of March, 1640, the Earl of 
Southesk, Mr. James Fairlie, the Bishop of 

62 Covenanter Times, 

Argyle, Sir Lewis Stuart, Advocate, Mr. James 
Farquharson, Writer to the Signet, were appre- 
hended in Edinburgh on suspicion of being en- 
gaged in a plot to overturn the Government and 
restore the King to power. This James Farqu- 
harson was the brother of Donald of Mdnaltrie, 
and the founder of the family of Whitehouse in 
the Braes of Cromar, the last of whose male line 
was the late Andrew Farquharson of Whitehouse, 
in the parish of Tough. 

Both parties, Covenanters and anti-Covenan- 
ters, as the summer advanced, were, as Spalding 
expresses it, " drawing to a head ". The Coven- 
anters of the south, hearing how their friends of 
the name of Forbes were oppressed by Highland 
limmars, broken men out of Lochaber, and the 
clan McGregor from Athole, Braemar and other 
parts, gave a commission to the Earl of Argyle 
to put them down and to punish them. For this 
purpose he raises an army of 5000 men, and 
marches towards Aberdeenshire, plundering the 
" Bonnie House o* Airley " on his way. 

All the anti-Covenanters flee before him. The 
Lady Irvine fled from her castle of Drum and 
sought shelter among her tenants in Cromar, of 
whom she had many. The army took measures 
with the ministers; and all who would not sign the 
Covenant were deposed. But there was a vacancy 
at that time in the church of Logie-Coldstone, 
and so no minister in that parish to deal with. 

Covenanter Times, 63 

The Royalists, that is the anti-Covenanters, 
were now rather the oppressed than the op- 
pressors, and all of them who had been very 
forward in the cause had to look to their safety. 
Among others, Donald FarquharSon and the 
young laird of Drum, being specially odious, had 
to take flight by sea into England. The Master 
of Forbes, Lord Forbes's eldest son, was much 
blamed for allowing them to escape; but he 
could not help himself. Nearly all the leading 
Royalists were now out of the country. 

So ends the second year of this Covenanter 
war. Little was done in it but the holding of 
meetings everywhere to compel all classes of the 
people to sign the Covenant ; while, on the other 
hand, the Highland limmars had a time of it 
quite to their own mind. The approach of 
Argyle changed this, and they had to consult 
their safety for a time. It was not long, how- 
ever, till the freebooters began to show them- 
selves again in their old ways. The Argyle men 
returned to their own country, and Leslie with- 
drew his army to the south ; and, worse than all, 
the Master of Forbes s regiment, which had acted 
as a kind of police force or Black Watch, was 
disbanded. This gave the caterans their desired 
opportunity, and they were not slow to embrace 
it They carried their depredations to such an 
extent that the authorities in Edinburgh " entered 
into an agreement with John Farquharson of 

64 Covenanter Times. 

Invercauld, for a certain sum of money, to de- 
fend the Sheriffdoms of Angus, Meams, Aberdeen 
and Banff (which were the counties in which 
they did most injury and oppression) for a year 
to come from all rief and spulzie ; and what was 
taken by this robbers from them, he was obliged 
to repay the same to the complainer within the 
space forsaid". This was very much the same 
charge as had formerly been entrusted to the 
Master of Forbes, but Invercauld discharged it 
with more effect, for he kept the caterans more 
in check than they had been kept for several 
years before. It is to the period of his juris- 
diction that the tradition of those numerous 
skirmishes with the freebooters of Lochaber for 
the recovery of stolen cattle is to be referred. 
Spalding says that " for executing this oflSce the 
laird himself was appointed captain, and gathered 
together out of his own friends (his kinsmen and 
clansmen) and others about 250 men, and kept 
the said four shires both day and night so care- 
fully that none suffered skaith, theft, or oppres- 
sion, but lived in all peace and quietness ". In 
this work, so dangerous, but so excellently per- 
formed, John of Invercauld was greatly assisted 
by his son Robert, a man of great learning, 
valour, and prudence, who, though he had then 
no property in Logie-Coldstone, soon afterwards 
acquired not a little, and was even then in 
possession of the considerable Lowland estate of 

Covenanter Times, 65 

Wardhouse in the Garioch, so that he had much 
personal interest in restraining the caterans and 
broken men. 

Spalding adds : " The Estates (the Covenanting 
Government), perceiving the quiet he had estab- 
lished, discharged him of his office, but gave him 
not good payment of what was promised at the 
making of the bargain, thinking that the country 
would be free of any more vexation. But the 
limmars, hearing of his discharge, brake out 
again under John Dugar to trouble and molest 
the country." 

The above will give a good idea of the public 
condition of this part of the country during 
Covenanting times. Of the private or domestic 
life the following presents only too faithful a 
picture. The writer was a Roman Catholic 
priest of the J. S. order, and his views must 
therefore be taken with considerable modifi- 
cations when they relate to the conduct or 
opinions of political parties. His name was 
Gilbert Blackhal, and he was now secretly 
wandering about the country visiting Roman 
Catholic families. In the discharge of this 
mission he was on his way from Strathbogie to 
Aboyne, when the adventure thus described 
occurred to him at the village of Rhynie: 
" Passing by Moor of Rhynie, I intended to 
give my horse a measure of oats there on my 
way to Cromar, because there was no place 

66 Covenanter Times, 

after that hostelary where I could get oats to 
him ; and I had eight miles to ride over the 
Cushnie Hills — as wild a piece of ground as 
is in all Britain. Coming to the gate of the 
hostelary, I did meet a carter driving out a 
cartful of horse dung to lay upon the land. I 
asked him if I could get there good oats for my 
horse. I had never been in that hostelary before 
that time, although I had gone by the same gate 
(way) above a hundred times. The unhappy 
rascal said, * Yes, sir, and good ale and beer 
also,' but did not tell me that the house was 
full of men, as drunk as men could be. 

" I entered the court, suspecting nothing ; and, 
as I descended from my horse, a gentleman, 
called John Gordon, did embrace me very 
kindly. He was exceeding drunk. When I 
did see that, I was sorry that I had entered that 
house, but there was no remede. I could not 
retire then, neither with honour nor with 
decency ; for I would have been taken for an 
enemy in these troublesome days, when every 
unknown man Was suspected ; therefore I 
thought it best to go forward with him, who 
heartily prayed me to enter the hall with him. 
I condescended, but would first put my horse in 
the stable; and, through good fortune for me, 
the door of the stable was low, so that I was 
forced to take off my valise from behind the 
saddle, which, being big and full, was higher 

Covenanter Times, 

than the saddle, and could not enter the door. 
My valise being off, John Gordon called a 
servant to carry it into the hall, which I 
would not suifer, but would carry it in mine 
own hand, because there was in it a suite of 
my clothes, which being seen would have dis- 
covered ma How soon as I had given my 
horse straw to eat waiting for oats, John 
Gordon would have me go into the hall, 
which was full of soldiers, drunk as beasts; 
and their captain, William Gordon of TiDy- 
angus, was little better. [It is to be noted that 
Blackhal's narrative is in the form of a letter to 
the daughter of that Lord Aboyne who was 
burnt in the House of Frendraucht.] This Tilly - 
angus had been page to your father ; and at this 
time whereof I speak had gotten a patent to list 
a company for the then holy but now cursed 
Covenant, and John Gordon^ was his lieutenant. 
They had both been of that company of light 
horsemen who spoiled the lands of Frendraucht,- 
and had been ever banished since that raid till 
the troubles were begun — and then every cove- 
nanting man was more loyal than the King 

" John Gordon and I entered the hall, my valise 
in one hand and my hat in the other, to salute 
the company ; and, as I was making my courtsie 
to them, the captain in a commanding way said, 
* Who are you, sir ? * which did presently heat 

68 Covenanter Times, 

my blood, which was not yet to a good tem- 
perament after the death of your mot)ier, but 
a matter of three weeks before. And as I 
thought he spoke disdainfully to me, I answered 
in that same tone, saying, * That is a question, 
sir, to have been asked at my footman, if you 
had seen him coming in to you*. He said it 
was a civil demand, and I said it might pass 
for such to a valet, but not to a gentleman. He 
said it was civil, and I said it was not. John 
Gordon, seeing us both very hot, and ready to 
come to blows, taking me by the hand, said, * Go 
with me, sir, to a chamber, and let this company 
alone, and we shall be by ourselves '. * With all 
my heart, sir,' said I ; for I did not desire to 
offend any man. So we went together; and, 
as I thought, we had been delivered from the 
importunity of the captain. He followed us to 
the chamber, and jjid sit down by my side ; I 
made him welcome, and prayed him to drink 
• with us, which he would not do, but said, * I 
pray you, sir, tell me what you are*. And I 
answered him, saying, *Sir, if you would have 
had but a little patience, until I had been set 
down among you, and my heart warmed with 
a cup as yours hath been, and then asked me 
through kindness who I was, I would, at the 
very first word, have told you; but you did 
begin in a disdainful way to question me, as if I 
had been some country fellow, and that manner 

Covenanter Times. . 69 

of proceeding did at the very first heat my blood, 
and obliged me to refuse your demand And 
now I cannot, with my credit, accord unto you 
that which I immediately before refused ; for 
you will think that you have forced me to it, 
and that not complaisance, but fear, hath made 
me give you satisfaction ; and, therefore, I pray 
you for my honour's sake defer to another time 
the curiosity of knowing who I am, since I 
cannot with honour tell you now ; and I am 
resolved not to do anything prejudicial to my 
honour, neither for fear of death nor hope of 
reward. But at the next meeting, whensoever 
it arrive, I shall freely tell you, for then I hope 
our party will not be so unequal as it is now ; 
and therefore it will not then be ascribed to fear 
or baseness, as it would be undoubtedly now/ 

" With this answer he went from us t9 his 
company, and, as we thought (that is Leicheston 
and I), if not contented, at least paid with reason. 
In this, meantyme, Leacheston did call for Finden 
hadocks (or fishes like whitins, but bigger and 
firmer) ; the mistres did give four to her servant 
to roste and bring to us. When they were rosted, 
the captain did take them from her and eat them 
with his souldiers. The servande came and told 
us that the captain would not sufi'er her to roste 
any for us, nor bring to us theis that she had 
rosted for us. 

" Wherupon I said to the mistresse in great 

70 Covenanter Times, 

anger, ' Goodwyf , I pray you give me some had- 
docks, and I will go into your hall and rost them, 
or some better thing for them, for I will not be 
so brauved by your captain : my moneyes are as 
good as his are ; and, therfor, I wil have hadocks 
for my moneye or know wherfor not \ She said, 
* You shall have, sir ; but you shall not go in 
among them who are bent to kil you. I pray 
God deliver my housse from murther. I would 
give al I have in the world to have you saiife out 
of my housse. I shall go and rost hadocks and 
bring them to you myself.* Which she did, and 
we did eat them and drink to the health of one 
another without any trouble, for our resolution 
was taken to selle our skines at the dearest rait 
that we could, if it behouved us to dye; for 
Licheston had alreadie swome to dye or live 
with me." 

After a good deal of quarrelling, the captain 
getting more and more angry, they came at last 
to blows, and some shots were tired, but no 
serious damage was done. By this time the 
wily priest had got over to his own side not a 
few of the party, and was almost a match for the 
captain and those who clave to him. Blackhal 
winds up the atiair in this manner : " You may 
judge if I would not have bein a good pryse to 
theis soldiours of the unholy Covenant. . l^hey 
would have bein better rewarded then for taking 
a priest nor for a lord, because thes rebelles 

Covenanter Times. 71 

covered their traison with the cloak of religioiL 
But my resolution was all the tym that I was in 
Scotland to defend myself as long as I could 
stand, and in myn own defence dye rather by 
th« handes of gentlemen then of the hangman. 
But my day was not yet come to dye at that 
occasion ; and God changed their hatred in love, 
for we became the greatest friends that could be, 
and made promise of brotherhoode one to another ; 
and when I did go to my hors, the captain and 
the minister and al the soldiers embraced me, 
and the captain would nedes help me to tye my 
valise unto my saddle and hold my stirope, but 
I would not suffer him to do the last, although I 
could not get him hindered from the first, and I 
had much adoe to hinder him from the last. 
For when I did put my foote to the stirope, he 
reached his hand to the other to hold it, which 
obliged me to draw my foote bak again from the 
stirope two divers tymes, and at last I was forced 
to accept the service which one of his soldiers 
offered me, for to be delivered from the compli- 
mentious civilitie, shall I call it, or rather ofBcio- 
sitye of the captain ; and when I was mounted 
to my hors, I behouved tak every man by the 
hand again, and drink to the good health of the 
captain, the lieutenant, and al their soldiers." 

Having got rid of his friends about five 
o'clock in the afternoon, he rode through the 
wild hills of Cushnie to the house of Robert 

72 Covefianter Times. 

Coutts in Cromar, where he expected to find the 
daughter of the Lady of Aboyne, who was there 
lying ill of the smallpox. He thus continues his 
letter ; — 

" I stayed with you but the mater of seaven 
or eight houres, from two of the clock in the 
morning or after midnight (for it was that much 
when I arrived at your logia). I would not have 
spent the half of that tyme by the way, if I had 
had any light to see the way, or to know when I 
was out of the right way or in it, or wher I was : 
but the night was so dark that I could not have 
sein the head of my hors, if it had not been 
wheyt, until tenne. I had about me, in a box of 
silver, two consecrated hosties, and did communi- 
cat you in your bedde, and your woman in the 
chamber, and then did go to Robert Farquharson, 
the sojor in Belletrach, over Dye, and ther I 
stayed but one night ; and my horse was stinged 
by an edder or serpent in the breast, lying in the 
stable in that hieland roume. I, not knowing 
anything of his paine, did ryd away upon him ; 
but, before I was three miles from thence, he 
could not put his further foote to the ground. I 
did make remove the shoe of that foote at the 
churche of Birs, to see what did hurt his foote. 
The smith did not discover anything, nather in 
his foote or legge, and therefore set on the shoe 
again; and so I did sometimes lead him and 
sometimes ryde upon him to Aberdeine, wher 

1641 A.D. Covenanter Times. 73 

the ministers were holding their General As- 
sembly. The next day appeared upon his counter 
a lump as bigge as a ballone, the venime had so 
swelled his flesh. How soone I did know what 
it was, I did bathe it with warme water, in which 
I raded a little earth of malte, and cured him in 
two dayes, and advertised George Setoun of 
Caniebroggie to send for him and money to me 
for him, to wit, four score pounds, not the half 
that he was worth, but at such tymes removers 
must be loosers." 

"Upon the 23rd of March, 1641, the place 
(mansion) of Kandechyle — now Dee Castle — 
pertaining to the Marquis of Huntly, by a 
sudden fire was recklessly burnt and destroyed, 
the haill plenishing destroyed and consumed, 
to his great skaith. However, Crowner (Major) 
Garden happened to be dwelling at this same 
time in this house, who was compelled to agree 
and pay the Marquis therefor." 

The mansion of Kandechyle was not rebuilt 
till long after, and then on a far less extensive 
scale. A portion of the walls of the old house 
still forms a part of the west gable of the present 
building. They were much thicker than those 
of its successor. The house afterwards went 
through several transformations. It was long 
used as a Roman Catholic chapel ; the mission 
was afterwards transferred to Ballogie, and 
ultimately to Aboyne ; but from that date tiU 

74 Covenanter Times. 

very recently the lower flat remained unin- 
habited, and the upper, though occupied, was fast 
falling into decay. It is now, through the care 
of Sir William Brooks, Bart, of Glen Tana, con- 
verted into a comfortable and even elegant 
habitation, while the ground floor serves as a hall 
and library for the district of Inchmamoch. 

The year 1641 passed without any general 
disturbance of the peace in the north. Caterans 
and broken men still gave trouble in the 
following year, when the commission to Inver- 
cauld to keep them down was withdrawn; 
and throughout that year (1642) there was 
much bickering and some bloodshed in 
Cromar between Sir William Forbes of 
Craigievar and Farquharson of Invereye. The 
latter exacted blackmail from the tenants in 
Cromar even more rigorously than their land- 
lords required their rents ; and it was as 
punctually paid, ^nd in many cases to even a 
greater amount. It was a reign of terror, in 
which Invereye was the ruling spirit. His 
property came to the very borders of Cromar, 
the lands of TuUich being his; and it was not 
safe to go there with any request for the resti- 
tution of stolen goods or gear ; so that it became 
a proverbial 8a)dng of his when fears of pursuit 
were expressed : ** Put Culblean between you 
and them, and let me see who will touch 
you". If any sturdy farmer refused to pay 

1643 A.D. Covenanter Times. 75 

his blackmail, and was strong enough to resist 
an open spulzie, he might, as the sajring was, 
"look for the red cock to be crawan' on his 
bam riggan' any morning" — ^the caterans' ex- 
pression for the crackling of flaming material. 
In this unhappy state passed the year 1642 in 
the parish of Logie-Coldstone. 

Upon the 11th of May, 1643, the Justice- 
depute held a Court at Elgin, which the Marquis 
of Huntly and nearly all the great barons of the 
north attended. Their object was to take into 
consideration the unsettled state of the country, 
and to adopt measures for the suppression of 
the bands of robbers that molested and spoiled 
the peaceable and industrious inhabitants. Why 
Invercauld was not re-commissioned for this 
work does not appear. He had discharged his 
duty to very good purpose during the year he 
held oflSce. Probably the country to be defended 
was considered to be too distant from his 
residence. It was to extend from Dunottar 
north to the Moray Firth. At any rate he was 
not appointed, and Cromar was left in the 
miserable position in which it was before. 
William M'Intosh, alias William M'Lauchlan, 
captain of the Clan Cattan, was appointed, 
with great powers of raising men, and a large 
salary ; but he did little good in the north, 
and none at all in Aberdeenshire. 

The great civil war now broke out in England, 

76 Covenanter Times. 

and many of the Scotch anti-Covenanters flocked 
thither to assist the king. Donald Farquharson 
of Monaltrie, Huntly s baillie, with some others, 
shipped at Aberdeen, as if for France, eighty 
soldiers, who were destined, however, for the 
king in England. Some say Monaltrie went 
with them, and got into great favour with the 
king, Charles I. ; but this is not certain. Tradition 
ascribes to him many brave deeds done in that 
country, on account of which he was called " the 
king s man ". In his own country he was 
known as Donald Oig, that is, the younger, to 
distinguish him from his father, who was also 
a Donald. 

The breaking out of the war in England was 
the signal for warlike preparations throughout 
the whole of Scotland. The General Assembly 
joined with the Convention of Estates (the 
Scottish Parliament) to issue ordinances to the* 
several shires to levy taxes, raise soldiers, and 
purchase arms and ammunition. The commis- 
sioners appointed for this purpose were, of 
course, all Covenanters. For Aberdeenshire 
they were Robert Farquharson of Invercauld, 
Sir William Forbes of Craigievar, and some 
twelve others, Invercauld being convener ; while 
on the other side were arrayed the Marquis of 
Huntly, the great body of the Gordons, and 
almost all the titled nobility of the county. 

The marquis was summoned to appear before 

Covenanter Times. 77 

the Elstates to answer for his conduct, but refused 
to obey. But they had soon to deal with a 
greater genius than the marquis. The Earl of 
Montrose left the Covenanters and went over 
to the king, and soon set the whole country in a 
blaze. Huntly, who disliked Montrose, and had 
good reason, thought himself overlooked by the 
king, and went to Sutherlandshire to be out 
of the way. This action divided the Gordons, 
and many of them held back from taking part 
with Montrose ; but all the broken men and 
outlaws — McGregors, Dugars, Roys, et hoc genus 
omne — joined his standard. Of course Invereye 
went to him, and that at an early stage ; and the 
country of Cromar was for a time well rid of 
such neighboura 

Donald Farquharson, now returned from 
Elngland — if ever he went there — also joined 
Montrose with the marquis's consent, and brought 
in a large body of men from Braemar and the 
Abojnie estates. They were mostly idle fellows 
that the country could easily spare. Montrose, 
now the leader of the royal army, took up his 
camp at Aberdeen, swept the county ' of the 
Covenanters, who went south for protection, and 
grievously ravaged their belongings. Parties of 
troops were sent out to bum and plunder, and 
som on their lands. Patrick Strachan, tenant 
of Kinaldie, a relative of the Laird of Glenkindie 
and of the minister of Coldstone, was fined 

78 Covenanter Times. 

heavily for being a Covenanter ; and, because he 
would not, or could not, pay the fine, his goods 
were plundered and he himself taken prisoner. 
It was Sir John Gordon of Kelly (Haddo House) 
who had command of the party sent into Croipar. 
Sir John — an ancestor of the E^rls of Aberdeen 
— carried poor Strachan prisoner to Haddo 
House, and from that he transported him to 
Towie Barclay, " where he fairly wan away *' . 

Spalding calls Patrick Strachan "a discreet 
gentleman,'' and gives this account of his escape : 
"This Patrick Strachan (tenant of Kinaldie, in 
Coldstone) made quiet friendship amongst the 
soldiers, took the captain (prisoner), and kept I 

the house (Towie Barclay) manfully till the army | 

came ; and syne came bravely out, and gat his 
horse and arms again, which Haddo had 
plundered from him". This was a bright 
exploit on the part of Kinaldie. 

While Montrose was raising the Highlands 
for the king, the Gordons, with Donald 
Farquharson of Monaltrie as their colonel, were 
busy, along with the Braemar men, plundering 
the Covenanters in Aberdeenshire. Cromar did 
not escape their ravages ; but most of the lairds 
there were then on the kings side, and, of 
course, their tenants escaped. The time, how- 
ever, was coming when they in their turn were 
to be the sutferera A great Covenanter army, 
with the Marquis of Argyle at the head of 800 

1644 A.D. Covenanter Times, 79 

Highlandmen from the west, advanced to 
Aberdeen. For months they were unopposed, 
and were billeted on the lands of the anti- 
Covenanters all over the county. A large body 
of the Campbell Highlandmen were sent into 
Cromar ; others were quartered on the tenants 
of Aboyne, Strachan, Birse, Glenmuick, Glen- 
tanner, and Abergeldie. Spalding, who knew 
everything that was going on, says that they 
had an allowance ilk day to be taken off these 
lands of 24 bolls of meal, 120 wedders, and — 
marts, with 60 dollars of money. This was in 
the beginning of May, 1644 ; we shall hear more 
of their doings before they left, early in July. 
Bad as the times may now be for the farmers, 
there were worse days in these olden timea 

This regiment of Argyle's men were called the 
Cleanaera, and richly they deserved the name, 
" for they cleansed all from their coming, which 
was upon the (16th) day of May, till the Ist of 
July, when they departed, leaving only behind 
them a captain with eighty soldiers, who followed 
soon after. They spoilzied and plundered the 
haill Birse, Cromar, Glentanner, Glenmuick, with 
the house of Aboyne, and the house of Abergeldie, 
and left neither horse, sheep, nolt, ky, nor four- 
footed beast in all these brave countries, nor 
victuals, com, goods, or gare that they might lay 
their hands upon." They were cleansers indeed. 

It was not long, however, till fickle fortune 

8o Covenanter Times, 

took the other side. The brief but brilliant 
career of Montrose drew to his Highland army 
all the cateran bands and broken men; and, 
while his operations were going on in a distant 
part of the country, Cromar had a respite from 
their depredations. After gaining the battle of 
Tippermuir, near Perth, Montrose marched north 
to Aberdeen, where he was joined by Donald 
Farquharson and his Highlanders, some of whom 
came from Cromar — a good many indeed ; for the 
young laird of Drum, the largest landowner then 
in Cromar, with Coutts of Auchterfoul and 
others, were very active in the cause, and had 
many injuries to revenge. 

Argyle followed north after Montrose, who 
was by this time on Speyside. Not caring to 
follow him further, he again sent his soldiers, 
both foot and horse, to quarter on the lands of 
Drum and Auchterfoul in Cromar, and the others 
where the Cleansers had been in the early summer. 
It was now a better part of the year for getting 
a great booty, being in the early days of October, 
when people were busy with their harvest. Young 
Drum, during the stay of the army of Montrose 
at Aberdeen, had come with a considerable body 
of horse to Cromar to punish the Covenanters 
there, and to recoup his own tenants at their 
expense for the losses they had sustained from 
the Cleansers; and he was not sparing in his 
exactions. But he had to make ofi* when the 

Covenanter Times. 8i 

Covenanting army drew near ; and, as Spalding 
says, " here were the Campbells again to begin 
where he left off\ He adds : " They (the Argyle 
men) cutted down the pleasant garden planting 
to the huts, destroyed the corns, and left not a 
four-footed beast in the lands of Drum and 
Auchterfoul in Cromar". 

The Covenanters also succeeded in making 
young Drum prisoner, and put him into the jail 
in Aberdeen, where, it is said, they would not 
allow his young wife to see him. He had only 
been married a few months, his wife being the 
Lady Mary Gordon, fourth daughter of the Mar- 
quis of Huntly. The rents of Drum and of all 
the anti-Covenanters on Deeside were uplifted 
and given to the supporters of the Covenant. Sir 
William Forbes of Craigievar got those of Drum 
and Auchterfoul, and Lord Eraser got those of 
Abergeldie, Donald Farquharson, and the Baron 
of Braickley. But Donald Farquharson's career 
was near its close. 

Montrose, in the beginning of the year 1646, 
was now in Lochaber, where he was joined by 
the Farquharsons of Invereye and all the loose 
men on Deeside from Culblean upwards ; but 
Monaltrie was not with them. He was attending 
to the interests of his master, the marquis, and 
his own, up and down the country. In discharge 
of this duty he had to come to Aberdeen after 
the Covenanters had withdrawn to the Meams ; 

82 Covenanter Times, 1645 ^-^^ 

and, in company with aome other oflSoers and a 
troop of about eighty horsemen, expecting no 
danger, was holding rather a high time of it in 
the town. However, a Major Hurry, then in the 
service of the Covenanters — though he often 
changed sides, and was afterwards hanged — did 
hear of it, though he was then twenty miles south 
of Aberdeen, instantly got ready a troop of horse, 
and, galloping back, surprised the carousing 
party, who made but little resistance. Some 
three or four were slain, and among them Donald 
Farquharson of Monaltrie, baron-baillie to the 
Marquis of Huntly over his Highland estates, 
and in his day a man of the greatest power and 
influence among the loyalists. This event took 
place on Friday, the 25th of March, 1645. 
" Upon the mom, being Saturday, the said 
Donald Farquharson s corps was found in the 
street stripped naked, for they tirred from off 
his body a rich stand of apparel that he had only 
put on for the first time that day. Donald was 
buried in the Laird of Drum's aisle with many 
woe hearts and doleful shota" Many tributes 
were paid to his worth, and Montrose much 
mourned his loss. He was the hero of many a 
legend as Domhnull Og Na IT Alba; but in 
real history he appears eminent only as the faith- 
ful baillie of the powerful Marquis of Huntly. 
Last year (1895) there was placed in Drum's aisle 
of St. Nicholas Church, Aberdeen, a brass plate to 

Covenanter Times, 83 

his memory, with suitable inscription, by the 
last male representative of the family to which 
Donald Og Farquharson of Monaltrie belonged, 
the late Andrew Farquharson of Whitehouse — a 
name which originally belonged to his ancestral 
property in the Braes of Cromar, the first pos- 
sessor of which was Jamas Farquharson, brother 
of the commemorated hero, and the last, he who 
fell on the field of CuUoden. 

In the month of April following Montrose sent 
McDonald, one of his officers, with a body of 
soldiers into Cromar for maintenance, and to 
keep the Covenanters from plundering the lands 
of his friends. They lived there in free quarters 
till they were joined by the main body of the 
army, which, passing over the Capel Munth, 
crossed the Dee at Crathie, and thence marched 
into Cromar. Baillie, the Covenanters' general, 
had about the same time crossed the Grampians 
by the Caimie Munth and was in Birse. Mon- 
trose hastily lifts from Cromar, marches first 
down the north road to Skene, and then north 
through Strathbogie to Morayshire. He had 
scarcely been two days gone from Cromar when 
in comes Baillie with his whole army, estimated 
at 2000 foot and 120 troopers, and encamps on the 
flat ground betwixt the kirks of Coull and Tar- 
land, compelling the anti-Covenanters to supply 
them with food for man and beast ; and here they 
remained from their incoming on Saturday the 

84 Covenanter Times. 

10th to Monday the 19th of May, plundering the 
goods of their enemies. Baillie then lifts and 
goes north after Montrose. 

Thus was poor Cromar within the space of 
one year ' seven times plundered — three times by 
the Covenanters and four times by their enemies. 
But the troubles of the poor tenants were not 
yet at an end. Montrose, after defeating Hurry 
at Aldearn, turned south, got past Baillie who 
was in Strathbogie, and again pitched his camp 
in Cromar. He did not, however, think himself 
safe here, and soon removed to Corgarff" to wait 
the return of his Highlandera When he was 
ready, he came down Donside, attacked Baillie 
at Alford, and totally defeated him. His High- 
landers were off again of course to carry home 
the spoils won in battle, so he retreated again 
into Cromar ; but it would appear that by this 
time the whole vale had been so cleansed that 
nothing was left to support his diminished army. 
" He therefore lifts his camp, crosses the Dee at 
Dinnet, out the Fir Munth, and to the south goes 

Cromar now enjoyed for a short space a much 
needed respite from the ravages of opposing 
armies. It is not necessary for our purpose to 
follow the fortunes of the different actors in the 
great civil war. That belongs to the general 
history of the natioa Enough here to note that 
after five successive and brilliant victories in 

1647 A.D. Covenanter Times. 85 

pitched battles, besides skirmishes, Montrose was 
at last defeated at Philiphaugh (12th September, 
1645), and never again was able to take the 
field The Marquis of Huntly, the power of the 
Gordons being completely broken, was hunted 
down among the mountains, captured, sent a 
prisoner to Edinburgh, and beheaded by order of 
the Parliament, a fate that overtook the gallant 
Montrose about a year later, and Argyle also 
twelve years after. Indeed, all the great leaders 
on both sides perished on the scaffold. 

To return to Cromar. For the purpose of 
utterly quelling the Gordons, who had risen in 
considerable bodies to avenge their losses. General 
David Leslie, the Covenanting commander, was 
in 1647 sent north with a sufficient force to put 
down any probable insurrection. He took up 
his quarters in two divisions. One of these was 
located for a time in Cromar, and was employed 
in demolishing the strongholds of the Gordons. 
The principal of these were the Castle of Strath- 
bogie and the fortress on Loch Kiimord, both 
of which they utterly dismantled and wrecked. 
The other division took in the Bog o' Gicht 
(Gordon Castle), and captured the marquis where 
he was in hiding near Tommantoul. These things 
done, Leslie withdrew his army to the south; 
but, during the time the soldiers were operating 
against the fortress of Kinnord, they lived, as 
we shall see, very much at free quarters on the 

86 Covenanter Times, 

Drum tenants in Cromar and other anti-Cove- 
nanters, though it would seem they paid for what 
they got or took from other tenanta 

No sooner, however, had Leslie's soldiers taken 
their departure than a worse evil befel poor 
Cromar. The caterans and broken men, who for 
two or three years had taken up arms for Huntly 
and were engaged in regular warfare under Mon- 
trose, burning for revenge for the loss of their 
leaders and protectors, and hankering to return 
to their old trade of spulzie, burst from the hills 
upon the Lowlands, and in particular upon 
Cromar as the district which had harboured the 
regular Covenanting armies. To put a stop to 
their depredations. General Middleton was sent 
to the north with a party of soldiers, mostly 
troopers. * And where could he go to be of any 
use but to the country that was being plundered ? 
As we shall see, it does not appear that his 
troopers were very particular about paying their 
way, though they were very effective against the 

On comparative peace being secured, a petition 
or rather two petitions were presented to the 
Scottish Parliament in order to obtain some 
compensation to the poor tenants for the losses 
they had sustained at the hands of the soldiers. 
Several acts were passed by the Parliament for 
this purpose. The one under which the Cromar 
petitions were presented was for consideration 

Compensation Courts, 87 

of the losses sustained at the hands of the 
Government troops by inoffensive persons who 
had taken no part in the late troubles. Other 
aets provided compensation to other classes of 
sufferers ; but with them we are not concerned 

The petitions for compensation under the pro- 
visions of the former act resulted in an order of 
the Estates to hold local courts for the trial of 
the validity of the claims put forward, and for- 
tunately there has been preserved a report of 
the proceedings of these courts. Of course the 
Cleansers were in a manner Government soldiers; 
but, according to Spalding, were very rapacious, 
and by no means particular about the politics of 
those they plundered. These lists are in many 
respects very curious and interesting, as showing 
the sort of goods that attracted the greed of the 
West Highlanders, and the value put upon them 
at that date, 1647 A.D., or just about 250 years ago. 
The value is reckoned in Scotch money; but, 
considering the change in the commercial circum- 
stances of the times, it may be held to be fairly 
represented by the sterling money of the present 

The first court held was in respect of goods 
taken by the Cleansers, and is thus described : — 

" A note of such gair as is plundered by the 
Argyle men out of the Laird of Drum's lands of 
Cromar, given by the tenants, cottars and grass- 
men of the said lands, upon their great oath 

88 Compensation Courts, 

sworn judicially in a fenced court holden in 
Tarland upon the 5th day of July, 1644, by 
Alexander Roes, in Miln of Coull, bailie of the 
said lands; James Fyffe, notar public, dark; 
Wm. Name, officer; John Middleton, dempster, 
the court lawfully fenced and affirmed," etc. 

Seven cases as samples are recorded Four 
are those of farmers, two are of grassmen, and 
one is that of a poor widow. " Duncan Calder 
deponed (that over and above forty such loss as 
was ordained him to pay by the gentlemen of 
the country) that they had taken from him four 
mares worth £100; secondly, his oxen being 
taken from him by them and kept until he was 
forced to pay 9 merks for them; and thirdly, 
they took his cruick (the chain that suspended 
the cooking pots over the fire), and a barked 
hyde from him worth 8 merks ; and lastly, they 
took himself and his wife and bound them like 
thieves, and took hLs whole goods with them- 
selves bound, to their camp at Auchterfoul, until 
they forced him to pay 82 merks for his relief 
and the relief of his goods, although he was an 
old man of three score and ten years." 

The above is a sample of the treatment meted 
out to the inoffensive tenants on the Drum- estate 
in Cromar — and the lines were hard enough — by 
the Argyle men. 

" The whole loss that the Laird of Drum's men 
of Cromar paid to the Argyle men extended to 

Compensation Courts, 89 

1700 merks money, and 42 bolls of meal, which 
was given them, and duly paid for, over and 
above the unwritten plundering.*' 

Merks seem even then to have been a current 
coin in Scotland ; and, being 6s. 8d. in value, are 
easily converted into the more common reckoning 
of £ s. d 

We now give an extract from the report of 
one of the courts held to consider the compen- 
sation to be given to tenants for the unpaid 
exactions of the men under General Leslie, 
when they were engaged in demolishing the 
fortress on Loch Kinnord in 1647. 

" John Gordon, in CouU, deponed that thei had 
takin from him ane meir worth fourtie lib., and 
ane horss quhilk cost him fyiftie-twa merkis, 
and sex vedders vorth sex doUaris, with other 
small things in his houss, worth aucht lib. 

"And Vm. Ross, in Coull, deponed that thei 
had takin from him his haill scheip, and had to 
thair camp, and he was forced to pay fourtie 
merkis for them, and likevayss plundered his 
houss, and tuik sik as they could get, worth sex 

" And Patrick Vischart deponed that thei did 

take his ten oxin, and had to ther camp, and he 

payed nyne s. sterling for nyne of them, and the 

tent they slew, being worth twenty lib., and brak 

his doris, and abussed his houssis. 

" And George M*Come, ane puir grassman, 

go Compensation Courts, 

deponed that thei did take his scheip, and ane 
meir, and had to ther camp, untill he was forced 
to pay twentie-sex merkis for them, and did take 
twa bands from him of twa hundred and ten 

" And Robert Bruce, grassman, deponded that 
thei did take tway meirs from him, worth 
fourtie merkis. 

" And Elspet Buchan deponed that thei did take 
hir horss from hir and had to ther camp, until 
she did pay ten merkis for him, and ane garkin 
of lining, scho being bot ane puir vidow." 

" The haill loyce (loss) that the Laird of Drum 
his men of Cromar, peyed to the Argill men, 
extended to sewintein hundreth merkiss money, 
and fourtie tway bolls meill, quhilk was giffin 
them, and dulie peyed for, by and above the 
unwritten plundering." 

At another court, held at Tarland, eight tenants 
of the Laird of Drum, in the parish of CouU, put 
in claims for compensations to the amount of 
£570 6s. 8d. At another held at the same place, 
and presided over by " Mr. Andro Gray, minister 
at CouU, Alexr. Boss, in Milne of Coull, Patrik 
Durvard, in Myll of AuchtercouU,*' the following 
cases from the parish of Logie-Coldstone came 
before the arbiters, the minute of which runs 
thus : — 

" Ane roll of the losses susteined be the Laird 
Drum his tenentis in Cromar, be quartering and 

Compensation Courts. 91 

utherwayis, be Qenerall Majur Midiltoun his 
army in Maij and Junij last, 1647 yens, giffin 
up in fensed Courtis upon thair oathis. 

" In the first, Isabel Elphingstoun, relict of 
Umquhill Allan Og, in Leyis, deponed, be wertew 
of hir aith, that scho had takin from hir sex 
firlotis bear to thir horsis, worth ten merkis 
the boll, half ane boll meill, at aucht merkis 
the boll, half ane boll of malt, at ten merkis the 
boll, ane young kow worth ten lib., thrie lambes 
worth four lib., mair in the said moneth of Junij, 
twey lambes pryss forsaid, thrie pekis meill 
pryss forsaid, thretein s. four d. for aill, thrie 
quarter of chesis, twente sex s. aucht d., mair 
plundered and takin from hir man, Alexr. 
Midiltoun, sex wedders at four lib. the peice. 
Inde ... 59 lib. 13s. 4d 

" Item, John M^Comy, in Ruthven, deponed that 
he had plundered and takin, from the tym for- 
said, six firlotis meill, ane firlot malt, and ane 
lamb, pryss forsaid, and twenty merkis for ailL 
Inde ... 12 lib. Gs. 8d. 

" And George M*Comy, in Ruthven, deponed, 
that he had qwortered with him at the tym for- 
said fywe hors and men four nicht, quhilk spent 
to him ane firlot malt, ane firlot meill, pryss for- 
said, ane quarter of beiif, worth fywe lib., ane boll 
gr3rt aitis, aucht merkis, and had quartered to 
him fywe men, who spent to him twey pekis 
meill, pryss forsaid, ane merk for aill, and ane 

92 Compensation Courts, 

merk for other vivers. Inde ... 15 lib. 
6a Sd. 

'* And William Dukison deponed that he had 
quartered with him fywe men and hors four 
nicht, quhilk spent to him ane firlot malt, ane 
firlot meiU, pryss forsaid, ane quarter beiff, worth 
four lib., ane merk for fisches, half ane boll aitis, 
four merkis, ane firlots beer, twey merkis and 
ane half, and to their futman ane uther nicht ane 
pek meill, ane quarter of cheis, pryss forsaid, and 
ane merk for aill Inde., 14 lib. 12s. 

" Suma ... 101 lib. 18s. 8d." 

" Ane Boll of the losses done to the Laird 
Drum his tenttis in Cromar be Generall Major 
Midiltoun's army, at ther being in Cromar the 
last of August till the 12 of Sepr., 1647. 

" Imprimis, Georg Ekiward deponed that he 
had fywe horsemen during the spac of twelf 
dayis, who spent thrie boUis aitis, at aucht 
merkis the boll, sex firlots meill, aucht lib., half 
ane boll bear, fywe lib., ane dollar for twey 
nichts thei war in Braemar. Inde ... 30 lib. 
4s. 8d 

" And Alexr. Ross, ther, deponed that he gaiff 
them thrie boUis aitis, worth sixtein lib., him- 
self being absent, and wis fre of forder quarter. 
Inde ... 16 lib. 

" And William Ross, ther, deponed that he had 
fywe men and hors during the said space, who 
spent thrie bollis aitis, at pryss forsaid, ane boll 

Compensation Courts, 93 

meill, fywe merkiss for aill, twey wedderis, ten 
merkis. Inde ... 32 lib. 

"And Qeorg M'Comy deponed that he gaiff 
them during the said spac twa boUis aitis, thrie 
firlotes bear, half ane boll meill, ane fir lot malt, 
at pryss forsaid, ane merk for aill, forty twey a 
for their quarteris when thei war in Bramar, ane 
quarter butter 208., half ane stean of cheis 208., 
twey merkis for beiff. Inde ... 26 lib. 2a 

"And Isobell Elphinstoun deponed that scho 
gaiif them during the said spac four boUis quhyt 
aitis, ane boll meill, ane boll malt, pryss forsaid, 
and thrie doUoris for beiff and mutton to them. 
Inde, 41 lib. 2a 8d. 

" And Patrik Mill deponed, that thei spent to 
him during the said spac sewin pekis gryt aitis, 
ane firlot meill, at pryss forsaid, and fywe merkis 
fur beiff, mutton, and aill. Inde ... 7 lib. 

"And William Dukison deponed, that thei 
spent to him during the said space ane firlot meill, 
sewin pekis gryt aitis, at pryss forsaid, and fywe 
merkis for aill, beiff, arid kitchin. Inde ... 7 lib. 

" And Beatrix Vischut deponed that thei spent 
to her during the said spac half ane boll gryt 
aitis, ane firlot meill, and sex merkis and ane 
half for beiff, mutton, and aill, and twelff' 
threifiis gryt aitis eittin be theiss that came to the 
[ ] esteimed at thrie bolls aitis, pryss forsaid 
inde ... 26 lib. 

"Suma . . . 185 lib. 18a 4d." 

94 Compensation Courts, 

At another court, held at Tarland in October, 
1647, seven of the leading tenants on the Drum 
estate in Coull put in claims for oompensatioa 
These claims are in several items very curious, 
but all show the oppression of the soldiers while 
lodging amongst them. As, however, they refer 
to the parish of Coull, it is not thought necessary 
to record them here in detail. Before these 
claims could be considered by the proper authori- 
ties, it was necessary that they should be certi- 
fied by the local courts. Accordingly a meeting 
for this purpose was held at Tarland, from 
the finding of which the following is a quota- 
tion : — 

" We, Mr. Alexander Gordon, minister at Cold- 
stan and Logic, and Mr. Andro Gray, minister of 
Coull, do testifie that the Laird Drum his tenantis 
within the parochins of Coull, Tarlen, and Logic, 
hes susteinit gryt losses sen the tent of Merch, 
1647, be frie quartering both of fut and hors, and 
be peyment of money and uther dewes to the 
captan of the watch and the garisons of Loch- 
keandor and Kildromi ; bot for ewerie ones par- 
ticular loss we tuik thair oathis, quhilk particular 
losses ar set doun in the former compt, except 
quhat thai haif peyed to the watch and the 
garison of the Loch at Auchtercoul, the fourtein 
of December, 1647. 

" Mr. And. Gray, Minister at CoulL 
" Mr. A. Gordon, Minister at Coldstan 
and Logie." 

Compensation Courts, 95 

" We, John Smith and John Couts, elders, 
withm the parochin of Logie, and William Reid 
in Newmill, and Alexr. Gordon of Eineraigie, 
elder, within the parochin of Tarlen, and Mr. 
Robert Coutts, and Alexr. Ross and John 
Durward, elder, of the parochin of CouU, do 
testifie be thir presentis that the forsaids compts 
of quarterings susteined be the Laird of Drum 
his tenentis, within the said thrie parochis, is 
trew and off veritie, and thet everie particular 
person in the former compt haiff deponed ther 
oath of veritie at the upgiving of the samen. In 
witness quhereof, we haiff subscrivit ther pre- 
sentis with our hands, at Tarlen, the fourtein day 
off Februarii, jai vie. and fourtie-aucht yeiris. 

" Jon. Smith, elder, at Logie. 

" Jon. Coultis, elder, at Logie. 

"Alexr. Gordon of Kincragey, elder, 
at Tarlen. 

" Mr. R Coultis, elder, at Coull. 

" Alexr. Ross, elder, at CoulL" 

" W^e, Wm. Reid, in Newmiln, elder, in Tarlen, 
and John Durvard, elder, in Coull, with our 
hands at the pen led be the nottar underwritten 
at our handis, because we cannot vreat ourselflSs." 

The Rev. Andrew Gray above referred to was 
a very busy man in his time, not to say some- 
what meddlesome. In a case that was brought 
before the Synod, 20th October, 1622, he was 

96 Satirical Epitaphs, 

ordained " not to medle with the exerceiss of any 
other minister his charge, as he will be anser- 

He was of little stature, as shown in his char- 
acter, given in an epitaph said to have been 
written by the first Earl of Aboyne : — 

. . . little Mr. Andrew Gray, 
Though void of wit, yet full of years. 
To point him forth requires some skill, 
He knew so little good or ill. 
He had a church without a roof, 
A conscience that was cannon-proof. 
He was Prelatic first, and then 
Became a Presbyterian ; 
Episcopal once more he turned, 
And yet for neither would be burn'd. 
Of whom I have no more to say. 
But fifty years he preach' d and dy'd. 

This practice of composing witty and satirical 
epitaphs continued for long to be a favourite 
amusement with clergymen at their presbyterial 
dinners. The then (1818) minister of Kildrummy 
was rather famous for his skill in these com- 
positiona A co-presbyter had written a work 
on the history of Scotland, which had not been 
attended with much success. This was Mr. 
Lowe, minister of Keig, who had the misfortune 
to lose an arm through an accident in early life. 
This is how the minister of Kildrummy would 
have him immortalised : — 


1653 A.D. Glencairn Rising. 97 

Beneath this stane within this knowe, 
Lies single-handed Sandy Lowe ; 
He wrote a book nae ane could read, 
And now the creater's wi' the dead. 

A minister of Logie-Coldstone, nick-named 
" Red Rab," was still more severely handled. He 
bore a somewhat doubtful character, and was of 
an overbearing disposition. The two last lines 
of his epitaph ran thus : — 

When at the last trump the dead shall rise, 
Lie still, Red Rab, if ye be wise. 

From the fall of Montrose and Huntly in 1647, 
nothing of any special moment occurred in 
Cromar to disturb its peace for several yeara 
Much that had been done during the previous 
troubles had to be settled for, and there were 
many lawsuits between neighbouring proprietors; 
but Cromwell soon came in and with a high hand 
distributed justice, and kept the caterans effec- 
tually in order. People were settling down into 
the condition they had been in twenty years 
before, when an unexpected outbreak occurred, 
known by the name of the " Glencairn rising ". 
Farquharson of Invereye, a professed black- 
mailer and oppressor of the Lowlands, was the 
means of bringing into Cromar this short-lived 
insurrection. He incited the Earl of Glencairn 
to come north, assuring him of great support in 
the district of Mar. For fully a month he went 

g8 Glencairn Rising. 

through the country, forcing people everywhere 
at the point of the sword to join his band of 
caterans and " cut-throats " that under Glencairn 
were to drive Cromweirs soldiers out of the 
country, and put the king upon his throne. 
Deluded by this prospect, Glencairn did come 
north with a regiment of Perthshire Highlanders, 
and at In vereye's advice they took up their quarters 
in Cromar. Invereye had two reasons for send- 
ing them there : first, to save his own tenants in 
TuUich and Upper Deeside the expense of main- 
taining them ; and, secondly, to punish the Cromar 
people, who had refused for two years bygone to 
pay him blackmail. We have not been able to 
ascertain the exact position of Glencaim's camp. 
It was somewhere in the west end of the district. 
There they abode for several weeks — one histo- 
rian says five, but it was not so long as that, not 
quite four as we reckon, yet long enough to give 
the honest people a thorough hatred of their 
company. There was a small garrison of soldiers 
at Kildrummy, but too weak to assume the 
offensive; and Glencairn made no attempt to 
disturb them, although he was at this time about 
2000 strong and daily receiving additions. 
General Morgan, one of Cromwell's officers, 
had a force of about the same number in 
Aberdeen, but he was supposed to be too 
distant to know what was going on in 
Cromar. Morgan, however, was not ignorant 

Glencairn Rising. 99 

of Invereye's movements ; and one early morn- 
ing he briskly attacked Glencaim*s outposts, 
which was the first intelligence they had of his 
approach. It was a case of " Hey, Johnnie Cope, 
are ye wakin' yet ? " and exactly similar to what 
took place nearly forty years later on the 
Haughs o' Cromdale. This fight could hardly 
be called a battle ; for Glencaim's force, though 
stronger numerically than Morgan's, were so 
taken by surprise that they at once took to 
dight. So meagre are the accounts we have 
of Glencaim's campaign, especially that portion 
of it that lay in Aberdeenshire, that it is difficult 
to determine the exact localities. All that is 
certain is that " he retreated with his army in 
some disorder through a long narrow glen into 
the forest of Abemethie on Speyside, pursued 
from morning to night by Morgan's victorious 
troops ". Although this is by no means the last 
time that bodies of armed soldiers passed through 
and were quartered in Cromar, it is, we believe, 
the last battle, in which firearms were ased, that 
took place within its bounds, unless a brush with 
the gangers in the smuggling days be counted — 
in which, however, the belligerents only came 
near to shedding blood 

Glencaim's raid into Aberdeenshire, which 
took place in the summer of 1653, in some 
respects resembled Dr. Jameson's invasion of 
the Transvaal; for he came at the solicitation 

lOO Glencaim Rising, 

of Invereye to help the outlanders there — who, 
however, did join him, though not in great 
numbers — and General Morgan played nearly 
the part of President Kruger and the Boers. 

For the next seven years — that is, to the 
restoration of Charles II. in 1660 — Cromar 
enjoyed profound peace, comparative prosperity, 
and entire immunity from the depredations of 
the caterans and broken men ; and for some 
years after — so great was the influence of 
Charles, first Elarl of Aboyne, with the Govern- 
ment and in the district — that, like a true 
magistrate, he was a terror to evil-doers. These 
evil-doers — caterans and broken men — were, 
however, not easily restrained. Invereye 
became headstrong and committed raids on 
Glenmuick and the Meams. In one of these he 
killed the Baron of Braickley and drove away 
his cattle, for which murder he was tried in the 
High Court of Justiciary, but acquitted on the 
plea that the Baron*s death was accidental and 
not intentional 

The next twenty years was a bad time for 
most of the lairds and the clergy, but a grand 
time for the lawlesa The lairds who had taken 
the king's side during the twenty years of the 
civil war, and had been utterly ruined in purse 
and property, looked for compensation when the 
king was restored, and got only thanks for all 
they had done for him. 

1689 A.D. Dundee Rising. 10 1 

The Laird of Drum was one of the heaviest 
sufferers in this way ; and, though he held on 
to his Cromar property for many years, it was 
under a heavy burden of debt, which ultimately 
compelled him to part with it : and there were 
many lairds in a like position. Nor were the 
Covenanter lairds any better off. Their day of 
prosperity — ^such as it was — came to an end with 
the Restoration, and now they found themselves 
heavily fined for the part they had taken against 
the king. They were, however, glad to get off 
with a fine, for many were imprisoned and some 
executed. The Forbeses generally suffered ; and 
it was not long till Forbes of Kinaldie and 
Forbes of Daugh had to part with their fertile 

Then came the Revolution, but it came too 
late to be of much help to the old families. It 
indeed relieved the ministers who had been 
deposed because they would not become Epis- 
copalians ; but few of them lived through the 
hard times of the persecution to be again 
restored to their churches. None of the 
ministers in Cromar were actually evicted, but 
the stipends were diverted to other purposes 
than to their maintenance — for one thing the 
bishops' revenues had to be provided out of 

The Jacobite rising under Viscount Dundee — 
or, as he was popularly known in the south of 

I02 Dundee Rising. 

Scotland, " the bloody Claverhouse,*' on account 
of his fierce persecution of the Covenanters — 
did not much affect Cromar. The scene of active 
hostilities between him and his opponent, General 
Mackay, lay along the Highland border in a 
circuit from Elgin to Killiecrankie in Perthshire, 
Dundee holding to the Highlands and organising 
the clans behind him, while Mackay was able 
only occasionally to disturb him by incursions 
up the glens. John Farquharson of Invereye 
— better known as the " Black Colonel *' — the 
son of that Invereye, sumamed William Maol, 
or the " bald-headed," who had played such an 
active part under Olencairu, was, next to 
Evan Dhu Cameron of Lochiel, the most active 
and daring of Dundee's supporters. Mackay 
made several attempts to invade his stronghold 
in Braemar, but with little effect Upper Dee- 
side for a whole month became a kind of 
skirmishing ground, during which divisions of 
Mackay's anny must have passed and re-passed 
through Cromar; but no written account of their 
marching and counter-marching remains. It is 
thought, however, that the large number of 
silver coins of the reign of Charles IL, which 
have been picked up from time to time within 
the district, must be ascribed to the presence of 
Mackay's troops. The romantic stories told of 
that daring freebooter, the Black Colonel, do not 
all deserve credit; but he was certainly the 

1690 A.D. Battle of Cromdale. 103 

worst enemy as a blackmailer that Cromar ever 
had. . 

Dundee's fall at Killieerankie (27th June, 
1689) did not altogether put a stop to the 
war, and there were wild doings within and 
on the borders of the Highlands for another 
year at least. The country was swarming with 
red-coats for the Government, and kilted caterans 
and ragged Irishmen for the Jacobites. Virtually, 
however, the war was closed one misty May 
morning (Ist May, 1690) " upon the Haughs o' 
Cromdale," where a troop of horse utterly routed 
the main body of the Highlanders, who fled to 
the hills and were not found in arms again in 
any formidable body for the next twenty- five 
years. A ballad was composed, and much sung 
at the evening firesides in Cromar a generation 
or two ago, on the action at Cromdale, 
beginning : — 

As I came in by Auchindoun, 
A little wee bit frae the toun, 
When to the Highlands I was boun* 

To view the Haughs 0' Cromdale, 
I met a man in tartan trews ; 
I spierd at him what was the news : 
Quoth he, ** The Highland army rues 

That e'er they came to Cromdale," etc. 

There was also a strathspey, still popular, 
composed to older words than these, the refrain 
of which was : — 

I04 Poll Book of Aberdeenshire. 1695 a.d. 

Oh, wat ye how the ply began, 
Oh, ken ye how the ply began, 
Oh, wat ye how the ply began 

Upo' the Haughs o' Cromdale ? 

For the next six years (1690-1696) no event 
of note is recorded as taking place in the 
district. The estate of Invereye had got a 
new laird of a more peaceful character, and his 
Tullich and other tenants took after him. 

We now come to consider a highly instructive 

The Poll Book of Aberdeenshire has been 
printed from a manuscript which belonged to 
General Gordon of Caimess. The tax to which 
it refers was intended to pay the arrears due to 
the country and army. The roll was made up 
in 1695, and the tax was made payable at Martin- 
mas of the same year ; but, it is believed, was 
never exacted. It is the most complete of any 
roll of the kind previous to the modem valua- 
tion rolls, and contains information of a varied, 
curious, and interesting character. From it we 
cull the following particulars. The section refer- 
ring to Logie-Coldstone is described as follows : — 

" Ane List of the Polable Persons within the 
Pariochin of Logiemar and Coldstone, given up 
by the Laird of Invercauld and Peter Dugid of 
Logiemar, two Commissioners, for that effect 
nominat and appointed, and be John Kelt in 
Knocksoul, within the Prfriochin of Coldstone, 

Poll Book, 105 

Clerk and Collector appoynted be them for the 
said Pariochin ". 

As the two old parishes of Logie and Cold- 
stone are taken separately, we are enabled to 
discover approximately what were the boundaries 
of each — a point which, though of little interest 
now, was long held to be of considerable import- 
ance. It also determines for us the values of the 
different properties, gives the names of the farms 
on each and of the tenants who occupied them, 
as well as their sub-tenants and other depend- 
ants, just 200 years ago. 

The Laird of Invercauld was the greatest 
heritor in the said parish of Coldstone, his valua- 
tion being £1250. The following farms are 
enumerated on his estate : — 

KiNALDiE. — James Forbes is tenant here ; but 
he, classing himself as a gentleman, is for his 
master s share liable. He has a wife and two of 
a family living with him ; he has also four male 
servants, four sub-tenants, with their wives and 
families, and two cottars with families. 

Coldstone (now Parks of ).— The tenant here is 
William Ross ; he has two servants, a male and a 
female ; two sub-tenants and four cottars. 

Mill of Kinaldie. — The tenant here is Alex- 
ander Esson ; he has two servants, a male and a 
female; a miller with his family, and one sub- 

LoANHEAD. — The tenant here is William Reid ; 

io6 Poll Book. 

he has but one servant, to whom, however, he 
pays no fee ; he has one sub-tenant and one 
cottar, and there resides with him a John Forbes, 
who has no trade. 

Wester Loanhead. — The tenant here is 
William Thorn ; he has two sub-tenants and two 

Newton. — The tenant here is William Reid; 
he has three sub-tenants and two cottars. 

PiTLOYNE. — The tenant here is John Fyfe, who 
has neither wife nor children. He has one female 
servant, one sub-tenant, and two cottara 

Knocksoul. — The tenant here is John Moir, 
who has six sub-tenants, several of whom seem 
to have considerable holdings, as they have 
families and servants. He has but one cottar. 

Belguwie — Balgreny . — The tenant here is 
John Emslie ; he has no children come to the age 
of sixteen years, and no servants. He has no 
sub-tenants, but six cottars, one of whom is a 
weaver to trade. 

BoosTOUNE. — The tenant here is William Bre- 
sich; he has no children come to age, and no 
servants. He has only one sub-tenant, but five 
cottars, two of whom are shoemakers and one a 

Panteland, near Boltingstone. — The tenant 
here is Peter Michie ; he has two servants, two 
sub-tenants, three cottars, all with families, and 
two men live about him who have no trade. 

Poll Book. 107 

This comprises what was long known as the 
Wester Barony. The population must have been 
considerable, as is evident from the number of 
farmers and cottars, all of whom had grass for 
one or more cows. The sub-tenants had often 
small holdings, and many of them were accounted 
farmers, though they farmed under the principal 
tenant and paid their rents to him. 

We now come to the Easter Barony, also 
belonging to Invercauld. 

LoANHEAD, now MiUhead (?). — The tenant here 
is Arthur McConachie, who has one sub-tenant 
and one servant. 

BoGO. — The tenant here is John Gordon, who 
has three servants and four cottars, two of whom 
are weavers. 

Daach (Daugh). — The tenant here is Isabel 
Coutts, who has two male servants, four 
sub-tenants, three cottars, one of whom is a 

John Couper is another tenant, who has a 
family, a servant, and a sub-tenant. 

Alexander Adam is another tenant, who has 
one sub-tenant. 

John Berrie is another tenant, who has a male 
servant and a sub-tenant. 

John Wadie is another tenant, who has a wife, 
but no children or servants. 

The population of the Daugh would thus seem 
to approach that of a considerable hamlet or 

io8 Poll Book. 

Hinall village. Besides the above mentioned, there 
were two weavers and one shoemaker. 

WiNDSEYE. — The tenant here is John Forbes, 
who has one sub-tenant and two cottara 

Melgum. — Tlie tenant here is John Farquhar- 
son, who has two servants, a male and a female, 
and one cottar, who is a weaver, and one sub- 

William Gordon is another tenant, with one 

Duncan Coutts is a third tenant, with one 

Mill of Melgum. — The tenant here is James 
Forbes, who has three servants, two male and 
one female, three sub-tenants, and three cottars, 
one of whom is a miller and another a wright. 

The above tenants, sub-tenants, and cottars 
comprise the settled population on the Invercauld 
estate as it existed in 1696. 

The proprietor was John Farquharson, who 
was then a young man, residing with his wife at 
Invercauld — the same who was forced by the 
Earl of Mar into the Rebellion of 1715, taken 
prisoner at Preston, conveyed to London, and 
after eighteen months' imprisonment released, 
when he returned to his paternal estates, which 
he largely augmented by purchases in Glenshee, 
Glenmuick, and Cromar, besides others that came 
to him by inheritance. 

The Earl of Aboyne is the next largest pro- 

Poll Book. 109 

prietor, with a valuation of £136 6s. 8A The 
account of his farms is as follows : — 

Old Groddie. — Allan Coutts is one tenant 
here. He has three servants, but no sub-tenants. 

William Gilenders is another tenant here. He 
has one female servant, two sub-tenants, and 
three cottars, one of whom is a shoemaker. 

New Groddie. — William Emslie is tenant here. 
He has two sub-tenants, several grown-up sons 
living with him, two having families, and two 
cottars, one without a cow. 

The next proprietor in the parish of Coldstone 
is Mr. William Douglass, his valuation being 
£100, and his farms as follows: — 

Waterern. — John Morgan is one tenant here, 
with one sub-tenant. 

John Thomson is another tenant, with a son 
and a daughter grown up, and one male servant 
and one cottar. 

John Wadie is a third tenant, with a sub- 
tenant and a cottar. 

Blackmill. — Peter Rsson is tenant here. He 
has a grown-up family living with him, a female 
servant, a sub-tenant and a cottar, both with 
families grown up. 

The next proprietor in the said parish of 
Coldstone is the Laird of Skeen, whose 
valuation is £60. He has but two tenants — 
John Esson with one sub-tenant, and James 
Littlejohn with one cottar. 

no Poll Book. 

The next proprietor in the parish is Master 
Alexander Shirrise, but he not dwelling within 
the parish is not poUable there. His valuation 
is £26 13a 4d He has but one tenant, Lachland 
Fyfe, who has one female servant, a sub-tenant 
and a cottar. 

The above comprise the holdings in the parish 
of Coldstone. From the names of the farms it 
would not be difficult to draw the boundaries of 
the old parish. 

" The valuation of the parish of Loggiemar is 
£1210." The valuation of the Laird of Drum's 
land in the said parish is £500 ; and his farms 
are: — 

Bellastbaid. — John Cattanach * is tenant 
here. He has a wife and three grown-up 
children living in the family, one male servant, 
two sub-tenants and four cottars. 

Mains of Riven.— John M'Combief is tenant 
here. He has six sub-tenants, most of whom 
have servants and families, and seem to be in 

♦ He was the ancestor of a race that proved them- 
selves somewhat turbulent in the subsequent troubles 
in the country. 

t It was a general belief that these M'Combies, of 
whom we find several in these lists and in good 
positions, had come originally from Glenisla — ilia 
officina gentium during the Covenanter troubles ; 
but this does not seem probable, as they are too 
many and too well established in the country for 
the short space of time which this would allow. 

Poll Book. Ill 

good drcumstancea He has but one male 
servant. There are four cottars, one of whom is 
a blacksmith. 

Leys. — Peter Reid is tenant here. He has a 
wife and family, with two male servants and one 
female, and one sub-tenant 

Nether Riven (1). — Alister M*Combie is 
tenant of one of the two farms under this 
name. He has a family, and one male and one 
female servant. He has five sub-tenants, all of 
whom have also families and servants, and five 



Nether Riven (2). — George M^Combie is 
tenant here. He has a family and two servants, 
a male and a female, four sub-tenants and one 

The above constitute the indwellers on the 
lands of Drum, within the old parish of Logic. 
These lands were, not long after, acquired by the 
Earl of Aberdeen, with much more extensive 
lands in the parish of Tarland, the Drum 
family having fallen into pecuniary difficulties 
on account of the part they took in the civil 
wars. From this they never recovered their 
former position, although at the Restoration 
Charles II. offered Irvine (who was the son- 
in-law of the second Marquis of Huntly) com- 
pensation for his losses by proposing to confer 
upon him the dignity of Earl of Aberdeen. 
Irvine, however, declined the honour, on the 

112 Poll Book, 

ground that his revenues were not then 
sufficient to support it. It is worthy of 
remark that the nobleman on whom it was 
conferred soon after became the possessor of 
these lands, which in either case would thus 
have been the property of Earls of Aberdeen. 

LooiE. — The Laird of Logic held lands within 
the parish to the value of £280. He lived with 
his lady and five children in the Ha' of Logie, 
some fragment of which still remains, while some 
of the fine old ash trees that lined the approaches 
still continue to be an ornament to the country. 
He seems to have lived in great style, for he had 
five men servants and three maid servants, all 
with good wages. His farms were as follows : — 

Ordie. — Alexander Ross is tenant here. He 
has a wife and grown-up family. " No servants 
but one littell boy, whose fee is £4 per annum.** 
He has four sub-tenants, all with young families, 
and one cottar. 

The Ordie has quite clianged character since these 
old days, and is now occupied, greatly to the benefit 
of the country, by tenants and tradespeople, who in 
the olden time would have filled the position, though 
not the tenure, of sub-tenants. 

Davan. — James Ross is tenant here. He has 
a wife and young family, and no fewer than 
seven sub-tenants, with wives and families, and a 
tradesman (the trade is not stated) with his wife 
and family. 

Poll Book. 113 

It is evident that what is now the village of Ordie 
was then situated at Davan. 

Mill of Looie. — James Fyfe is tenant here. 
He has a wife and grown-up family, two sub- 
tenants with families, and two cottars, one of 
them with a family, the other a widow without 

Broomhill. — William Ross is tenant here. 
He has a wife and family, three sub-tenants 
with families, a man servant and two cottars. 

The above named constitute the tenants on the 
Logic estate. 

The Laird of Blelack's valuation of lands 
within the parish of Logiemar is £290. He 
resides on his property with two daughters, a 
friend, one man servant and two maid servants. 
His farms are, besides the home farm, which he 
keeps in his own hands : — 

Greystone. — Alexander Smith is tenant 
here. He is married and has two servants, a 
male and a female, three sub-tenants and one 
cottar, all with families. 

Mains of Blelack. — William Reid is tenant 
here. He is married and has a grown-up family 
living with him. He has also two sub-tenants, 
two cottars, and a miller, all of whom have 

MosTONNE OF Blelack. — John Robertson is 

114 -P^^^ ^0^*- 

tenant here. He has a wife and family, with 
three sub-tenants, who also have families. 

Cairnmor. — Alexander Webster is tenant 
here. He is married and has a young family. 
He has no fewer than five sub-tenants with 
families, but no cottar and no servant. 

The above named were then the tenants on 
the Blelaek property, owned at that time by 
John Gordon, a cadet of the Abergeldie family. 

CoRRACHREE. — The Valuation of the Laird of 
Achindor's lands within the parish of Logiemar 
is £140. He has two tenants, the names of 
whose farms are not given. The property, how- 
ever, was long before this time well known as 

Patrick Clerk is the first mentioned of these 
tenants. He is married, has a man servant, two 
sub-tenants and two cottars, all apparently with 

George Smith is the other tenant mentioned. 
He has a wife and family and four sub-tenants, 
all in the same position in regard to dependence. 
The Laird of Achindor has a lady and four 
children in family, with but one male servant 
pollable. He is not said to be resident at Cor- 
rachree, though that is probably implied, at least 

The above constitute his tenants and their 



The main features that characterised the con- 
dition and conduct of the Lairds of Cromar at 
this date were extravagance and impecuniosity, 
or, as it was more frequently phrased, " Highland 
pride and poverty". The extravagance con- 
sisted, not so much in expensive personal habits, 
as in a vain display of importance. This has 
been pithily satirised by Bon Qualtier in one of 
his ballads : — 

First came Grant o* Rothiemurcus, 
And on his thigh a sword and durk is ; 
Every man as proud's a Turk is. 
And next came Grant o' Tullochgorum, 
Wi' a' his pipers ga'an before him ; 
Proud the mithers were that bore them. 

This childish parade was not confined to the 
Grants. Bonnet lairds and others, wadsetters, 
portioners, and even farmers, tacksmen styling 
themselves gentlemen might be counted by the 
dozen in Cromar, who brought ruin upon them- 
selves in the same way. There were some 

Ii6 Social Condition, 1700 A. D. 

notable exceptions, wise and sensible men, who 
made or much increased the fortunes of their 
families, rising on the ruins of the wild and 

The industrious classes also had their own 
troubles and difficultiea The country was over- 
run with idle slungs, somers, and masterful 
beggars, whose demands for food and lodgings 
could not be refused but at the risk of incurring 
greater losses. There were also bands of pro- 
fessional thieves and robbers, habit and repute, 
infesting the public highways, plundering tra- 
vellers and sometimes making inroads on peace- 
ful homesteads. Egyptians, gipsies and tinklers 
were their usual designations, but they were 
really for the most part broken men and out- 
laws. Three or four of these banditti became 
very notorious — the Greybeards, who were really 
McGregors, and looked to Rob Roy as their chief; 
a tribe of the name of Young, or Oig ; another 
under the leadership of Alister Mor, who was 
supposed to be a broken M'Donald or M'Intosh ; * 
and lastly the band led by James MTherson, 
who, if very wild and lawless, was held to be 
rather a romantic character, and for his mis- 
deeds was tried and hanged at Banff, 1700, going 
to his death as described in the ballad with such 
bravado that — 

• For an account of this robber see Dr. Allardyce's 
volume, Misc, N. S. C. 

The '15. 117 

He played a spring and danced it round 
Beneath the gallows tree. 

To put down these disorders the heritors in 
different districts formed themselves into com- 
mittees, but to little effect. John Farquharson 
of Invercauld was representative for Cromar on 
these committees and a leading spirit amongst 

The Jacobite rising under the Earl of Mar in 
the year 1715, so far from being a calamity, was 
felt to be a relief to the oppressed tenantry. It 
drew by inclination or compulsion almost the 
whole of the loose and lawless characters into its 
ranks ; and thus, for the time it lasted, relieved 
the country of their noxious presence. The 
lairds did not fare so well as their tenants. By 
the tenure of their lands they were bound to 
give military service to their lord superior, who 
at this time was the Earl of Mar himself. John 
Gordon, Laird of Blelack, and John Farquharson, 
Laird of Invercauld, then the largest proprietor 
in the parish of Logic- Coldstone, were specially 
unfortunate: the former on account of his re- 
lationship with the Skellater family, who were 
not only vassals, but official servants of the earl ; 
and the latter because the earl had made himself 
his guest, and lived in the House of Invercauld. 
The Earl of Aboyne was almost in the same 
position. Mar also sent a very threatening letter 
to Blelack if he did not come out and bring his 

ii8 The '15. 

men with him. He did go out, and so did Inver- 
cauld ; and Lord Aboyne gave his support, if he 
did not also give personal service ; not much to 
the advantage of any of them, but least of all to 
Invercauld, who was taken prisoner and kept 
long in jail, and only released on humble peti- 
tion and other influence, as was thought, of a 
pecuniary character. 

The tide of war swept rapidly southward and 
left the north in comparative peace. It is true 
that the notorious Rob Roy paid a flying visit to 
Aberdeenshire to raise such of his clansmen as 
were located in its Highland glens, specially in 
Morven and Glengaim. But this, instead of 
giving trouble, relieved Cromar of their disagree- 
able vicinity. 

Mar's rebellion did not affect injuriously, but 
rather the reverse, the interests of the indus- 
trious and peaceably disposed inhabitants of this 
district. . The lairds who joined in it had to take 
to hiding for a time, and lost their rents, but 
that was all that came of the forfeiture of their 
estates. If they were deep in debt before, they 
were now much deeper, and little able, even if 
they had been so disposed, to advance the inter- 
ests of agriculture. But the two greatest suf- 
ferers in Cromar were perhaps the schoolmaster 
of Coldstone and the Rev. William Idell, minister 
of the parish of CouU, a native of Upper 
Deesida For aiding and abetting the rebellious 

The '45, 


cause both were deposed from their offices and 
never reponed. It is presumed that Mr. Idell, 
being a Braemar man, was under the influence of 
the great earl ; while the Coldstone schoolmaster 
was too near Blelack to escape contagion. 


It would be beyond the scope of the present 
work to follow the course of this gallant but 
hopeless adventure in detail. To get an intelli- 
gent view of the connection of this part of the 
country with the insurrection it is only neces- 
sary to remind the reader of its progress and 
main incidents. The Prince, " Royal Charlie," as 
he was familiarly styled, set up his standard in 
the extreme west of Inverness-shire, on the 19th 
of August, 1745. He was there joined by a 
number of the West Highland clans, and with 
them he marched southward through Athole, 
gathering the midland clans on his way to 
Perth, Stirling, and Edinburgh, near which he 
fought and won the battle of Prestonpans on 
22nd September. 

Up to this date the only contingent his army 
had received from Aberdeenshire was the troop — 
mainly of horse— under Old Gordon of Glen- 
bucket, the " Prince Rupert *' of the expedition, 
as he has been called, on account of his daring and 
dashing exploits. He was a veteran soldier, and 

I20 The '45. 

had been out with Mar in the '15, since which 
time he had sold his estate of Glenbucket — under 
redemption, as it was called — to the Earl of Fife, 
who was now in possession. Though Gordon 
was styled of Glenbucket, the only following he 
had from that glen consisted of the loose men 
and masterful beggars who still looked to him as 
their chief. The body of cavalry he commanded 
came from Banffshire and belonged to the regi- 
ment being raised there by Lord Lewis Gordon, 
brother of the Duke of Gordon, an early and 
active partisan of the Prince. This small body, 
with some vagabonds from Braemar who joined 
themselves to the M*Intoshes, were the only 
Aberdeenshire men who had any part in the 
defeat of " Johnnie Cope *' at Prestonpans. But 
victory gave a great impulse to the spirit of in- 
surrection in and around Cromar. 

Before the Prince's army left Edinburgh for 
the invasion of England on 31st October, 1745, 
Lord Lewis Gordon, who had been appointed 
his lieutenant and representative in the north, 
had assumed the authority of the Duke of 
Gordon, and was busy collecting men and money 
for the rebel army. He appointed Francis 
Farquharson of Monaltrie and James Moir of 
Stoneywood to be colonels, under whom, in 
various positions of command, were Charles 
Gordon of Blelack, young and rash ; Gordon of 
Pronie, from his great stature styled " Muckle 

The '45. 121 

Pronie *' ; Harry Farquharson of Whitehouse in 
the Braes ; James Farquharson of Balmoral, 
and some others of less note. These, however, 
did not go into England, nor did they join the 
Prince's army till about the 15th January, 1746, 
when it was laying siege to Stirling Castle. They 
were all present at the Battle of Falkirk on 17th 
January, and shared in the victory over General 
Hawley. They formed with the men of Athole 
and Angus the second line of battle, and the victory, 
was almost complete before they were brought 
into action. Pronie, who had been despatched 
from the front with orders for their advance, came 
galloping up, shouting at the top of his voice — 
and he had a voice that could be heard amid the 
roar of a battle — " Forward, men ! the day's our 
ain; the day's our ain!" Balmoral was badly 
wounded, the only casualty recorded among the 
officers of Monaltrie s regiment, which comprised, 
as already indicated, the Deeside and Cromar 

Although this was their first engagement with 
the English army, it was not the first time they 
had been in action and obtained a victory. It 
may well be asked what they had been doing 
all the previous four months that they had been 
under arms. The following excerpts from the 
Stoneywood papers will show the nature of their 
occupation and throw not a little light on the 
condition of the country. 

122 The '45. 

Lord Lewis Gordon writes to his lieutenant- 
colonel to stop the mouths of the Presbyterian 
ministers thus : — 

" To James More of Stoneywood, Esq. : 

*' Att Aberdeen, 
'* These 

"HuNTLY Castle, 
" October the 29, 1746. 

" Dear Sir, 

" I have one thing more to recom- 
• mend to you, whicli is, that I am informed by 
the Prince's best friends in this country, that his 
affairs have suffered by the vile and malicious 
behaviour of the Presbyterian ministers, who 
abuse his Highness's goodness by irritating the 
minds of the common people, in telling them a 
parcel of infamous lies. I therefore require and 
direct you to issue out an order in my name to 
all the ministers in your part of the country that 
if they dare to say a disrespectful word of the 
Prince or any of his friends that I will punish 
them as the law directs. 

*' Lewis Gordon." 

An attempt to do this was made at this time 
in the church of Logie-Coldstone. The incident 
is thus recorded by the eminent antiquary, Dr. 
Stuart : " The minister of the parish of Logy-in- 
Mar, on a certain Sunday during the insurrection, 
was engaged in prayer to God that he would 
scatter the army of the rebels, and bring their 

The '45. 123 

counsels to nought, when he was interrupted by 
the Lady of Blel{ick, who, with an oath, asked 
him : * How dare ye say that an* my Charlie wi** 
them ? ' " 

The lady was the mother of the young laird 
who had just joined the rebels under Stoney- 
wood and Monaltrie, and whose language was 
often not more choice than hers. 

On the 25th November, when the Prince's 
army was at Kendal in England, Lord Lewis 
writes to Stoneywood: — 

" Dear Sir, 

** I received, last night late, your 
letter of date Tuesday night. You may be sure 
the good news it contained gave me great pleasure. 
Everything goes on well. I hope the event 
people wait for, will soon come on. I am 
glad Blelack and some men are with you ; 
and we all think here that you have men 
enough for collecting the cess of the shire. 
There is not .one Highlander come here yet. 
You will easily be convinced that it is impossible 
for us to march southward with a body of 600 
or 700 men without a certain fund to pay 
them punctually. I am sorry of the delay of 
the Highlanders; and you will be much sur- 
prised to hear that it is owing to the Duke of 
Gordon, who has been so rash as to send 
advertisements for his people not to obey my 

124 ^^ '^' 

orders. You will see by the eucloHed letters that 
fifty men were to have marched to you, if the 
information of Blelak's men being with you had 
not made us alter our measures. I hope in God 
we shall soon be able to leave this country. 

** Your assured friend, 

" Lewis Gordon." 

" The good news " he refers to was the capture 
of Carlisle. What the Highlanders were wanted 
for was to compel the tenants at the point of the 
sword to pay the cess money — the rents — to 
these officers instead of to the proprietors of the 
lands. The Duke of Gordon was Lord Lewis's 
elder brother. He felt that he was impoverish- 
ing the country, and could not restrain his wild 
men from plundering even his brother's tenants. 

In a letter on the following day dated from 
the same place he writes : — 

" I ame to send you fifty or sixty men from this 
place which I hop will be suficient, with what you 
already have, to enable you to reduce the outstand- 
ing people to reason. I find it is the opinion of 
every bodie that base tryed the recruiting in that 
way, that there is no receding from demands, or 
giveing the least concessions ; and I doubt not 
but you will find it the best way to threatne a 
great deall, and even do some strong things to 
those who are most refractory. I have a letter 
from Blelack, who base execute his orders to very 

The '45. 125 

good purpose, notwithstanding what opposition 
he met with from Invercale, whose people, as 
well as Lord Bracos in that countrey, he hase 
oblidged to comply. No pains shall be spared lo 
raise the men, as proposed, from the valued 
rent : and for that end, as soon as I finish this, 
am to make out leters to the severall gentlemen 
in ten or a dozen parishes round to have there 
different quot€ts of men here, under the pain of 
military execution, which I ame resolved stricklie 
to execute against every deficient heritor. 

" Lewis Gordon." 

The above is a fair specimen of the mode 
adopted to raise men and money for the service 
of the Prince, and of the literary attainments of 
his lord lieutenant in the north. After this, how 
silly must appear the talk afterwards indulged 
in by Jacobite writers regarding the enthusiasm 
of the people in the cause of the Pretender ! 

Next day he writes : " The sooner you give 
your direction to raise the men it will l>e the 
better ; and you will soon find that all the lenity 
you can use will be to little purpose, and that 
some severity will be absolutely necessary ". 
Fancy a press-gang of 350 men under Stoney- 
wood, Monaltrie, and Blelack scouring the country 
from Braemar to Midmar, compelling the pay- 
ment of money and the enlistment of men for 
the service of the Prince under pain of fire 

ifl6 Th€ '45. 

and sword, and you will have some notion of the 
enthusiasm with which his cause was supported 
in this part of the country. 

On the 10th December, when the Prince's 
forces were at Manchester in England on their 
retreat from Derby back to Scotland, Lord 
Lewis wrote from Fy vie to Stoneywood a long 
letter, urging more strongly than ever the adop- 
tion of severe measures to bring in the men, 
and to prepare for a march southward. 

A week earlier Stoneywood had received a 
letter from Blelack, which we reproduce 
literatim : — 

" To Colonell James Moer, Stoimiewid 
" At Aberdeen. 
" Dear Sir, 

" Imedeatly upon recept of yours, 
I set owt for Strathbogie, but, to my great dis- 
appointment, I foind he [Lord Lewis Gordon] 
is at Bamph, or some other way through the 
cuntrie. I have an express in quest of him, 
who is not returned ; but for what I can learn 
hire, his Lordship will not be soon redie, and, 
by God, its almos sertain we will be left 
Whither Lord Luies has coresponded with Lord 
John Drumman or not, is what I cannot yet 
learn ; but theres wan thing that I must beg of 
you, in the most earnest maner, that yowl 
acquaint me when ye have any return from 

The '45. 127 

Lord John Drumman, as I am perphitly sbour 
ye have not negleckted to write him, and learn 
when or how he designes to march, for if we 
are left behind him our case will be lamentable; 
in short the fear of being left is tormenting me. 
Let me hear all the news ye can. This bearer 
promises yow this leter to morows night, and 
I beg yowl let me hear from yow, per express, 
with one of my own men upon Thursday, and 
by that same express I shall let yow know 
what I dow with Lord Luiea My complaments 
to Lonmay. And hoping to hear from yow 
soon, I shall onlie ad, that I most sincearly am, 
dear Sir, 

" Your most sincear humble servant, while I am 

"Charles Gordon. 
" Huntly, 3rd December, 1746. 

" For God sake don't faill to write me." 

Blelack was in mortal terror of being left be- 
hind; and well he might be, for his vagabond 
soldiers had raised a storm of indignation that 
might burst upon him in retaliatory action when- 
ever he was weakened by the departure of the 
main body of his supporters. Then, indeed, he 
would be in a " lamentable case '\ He is so ex- 
cited over this apprehension that he cannot re- 
strain himself from introducing profane swearing 
even into his letter ; and we do not wonder at it, 
seeing that his mother could not refrain from 

128 The '45, 

that evil habit in church during divine service. 
She was a daughter of the house of Skellater, a 
rude and warlike race, and the aunt or grand- 
aunt of the celebrated " Red Jock," whose ad- 
venture with the notorious John Wilkes and 
subsequent romantic career is, we believe, forming 
a subject of inquiry by Dr. James Neil, the results 
of whose painstaking investigation may, it is to 
be hoped, soon be published, presenting as it does 
a picture of the life of a soldier of fortune as 
eventful and strange as any in the region of 

Blelack again writes to Stoneywood from Tar- 
land, where, it would seem, he had taken up his 
headquarters. We do not trouble the reader 
with his somewhat oblique orthography : — 

" To James Moir of Stony wood, Esq. 

" Dear Sir, 

" I have yours just now with Mr 
Mackie, and would very readily complied with 
your desire in giving him the party ye desire, if 
Monaltrie and I had not sent a good many of 
the men we had upon foot with Mr. McGrigor 
of Inverenzie to Aberdeen, which will be with 
you before this comes to your hand ; in short any 
number of men in the country are such a plague 
that it is a torment to manage them ; and we 
have just now but scrimply as many as serves to 
raise Lord Aberdeen's men in the country ; and 

The '45, 129 

as to the gentleman's project of getting volun- 
teers, I'm afraid his success will not be great, for 
the method of feeing has put an effectual stop to 
that ; in short, as ye have an inclination to serve 
the young man, the most effectual method ye can 
take is to give him an order to raise some parish 
or other, and a party to assist him, and in that 
case, he may get a good many. I'm obliged to 
you for good news ; God increase them, for every- 
thing goes on most dilatorily. I shall acquaint 
the gentlemen in this country of your cess. 
Monaltrie wrote the Governor to send out dis- 
charges for the cess of several parishes up and 
down through the country ; so ye may do in this 
as ye think fit. I shall write you fuUy in a day 
or two. And, on great haste, I most sincerely 
am, dear Sir, 

" Your most sincere humble servant, while 
" Charles Gordon. 

" Tarland, 9th December, 1745." 

Inverenzie, now Glenfenzie, is a tributary glen 
of Gaimside. These McGregors were all of the 
Gilderoy sept, and had got settlements in the 
Highland glens under Huntly during the civil 
war. The Earl of Aberdeen had several years 
before this, some time about 1728, purchased the 
extensive lands of Drum and Wester Coull in 
Cromar ; and, as he supported the Government, 
his tenants were preyed upon by the insurgents. 

130 The '45. 

The same was true of the Invercauld tenantry in 
the Easter and Wester Baronies. 

In his next and last letter to Stoneywood 
Blelack still expresses his fear of being left 
behind, and, what is still more to his credit, his 
detestation of the work in which he was en- 

" To James Moir of Stoneywood, Elsquire, 
" At Aberdeen. 
" Dear Sir, 

"At my desire the Earl of Aboyne's 
tenants send in their cess by the bearer. They, 
and those concerned for them, incline to have a 
discharge in terms of the enclosed copy ; there- 
fore, providing the cess be paid, I think it is but 
a matter of indifference how the cess is conceived 
[obtained] ; so that I expect you will satisfy 
them by sending the discharge in terms of the 
copy. I have sent the list of the cess Lonmay 
enclosed to Monaltrie up the country, where he 
is just now, who will certainly act conform to 
the directions. 

'* I am just now sending a part of our men off 
to Aberdeen with a line to Mr. Ross, who will 
give you an exact list of their numbers, and 
receive pay for them, as he does for those that 
were formerly sent. I was indeed heartily vexed 
that I could not have the honour of waiting of 
[on] Lord John and Lord Lewis Gordon. I'm 

The '45. 131 

indeed impatient if they have taken any resolu- 
tions oonceming the time of our marching, 
which I beg you will let me know as soon as 
possible ; for, although we were to be here till 
Whitsunday, there would be a good deal to do 
at the last; only I must, in the most earnest 
manner, guard against our being left behind, 
for, by God, I*d rather almost be a hangman, or 
I drove this trade longer. 

'' I have minded your commissions as to your 
plaids and tartan, which shall be sent you in 
the beginning of the week. Pray, be so kind 
as continue to give me what news occurs to you ; 
it is most refreshing here. I refer my most 
humble service to the governor, and I always 
am, dear Sir, 

" Your most obedient humble servant, 

" Charles Gordon. 

" Mill of Gellan, 14th Dec, 1745." 

Blelack was kept on at this detestable work 
of raising the cess at the point of the bayonet 
for another week only. This cess, or war tax, 
was a heavy one, £6 stg. for every £100 Scotch 
of rental; that is, for every £8 6s. 8d. stg. 
Monaltrie, his superior officer, was at the same 
work further up Deeside, where, if he got little 
money, he succeeded in raising a force of 300 
men. These were to be sooner engaged in active 
service than they expected. 

132 The Skirmish at Inverurie, 1745 a.d. 

To put a stop to these exactions the Laird of 
McLeod was despatched from Inverness. Lord 
Lewis Gordon thereupon assembled his forces 
at Aberdeen. Monaltrie was there with his 300 
Farquharsons and Blelack with 100 followers, 
fifty of whom he had raised in Cromar ; the 
other half had been sent him from Kildrummy 
and the country around. In a short time Lord 
Lewis found himself at the head of a little army, 
1200 strong. Meanwhile, McLeod, marching 
from Moray, was kept in complete ignorance 
of his lordship's movements and strength. In 
fact, he was led to believe that he was on his 
march southward to join the Highland army on 
its return to Scotland. On the other hand. Lord 
Lewis had the fullest information regarding 
McLeod's movements and the disposition of his 
force, and was lying in wait for a favourable 
opportunity to attack him. 


McLeod entered Aberdeenshire at the head of 
700 men, and, in his fancied security, had the 
temerity to divide even this small force into two 
parties, leaving one, numbering 200, under Colonel 
Munro at Old Meldrum, and marching at the 
head of his own clansmen to Inverurie, where he 
quartered them partly in the village, and partly 
in the neighbouring farmhouses. On a bright 

The Skirmish at Inverurie. 133 

moonlight night, 23rd December, 1745, Lord 
Lewis Qordon, having marched his whole force 
from Aberdeen in the afternoon, fell unexpectedly 
upon the McLeods, who were only 300 strong, 
200 being cantoned in the country around The 
fight was unequal, even if they had not been 
taken by surprise; yet McLeod succeeded in 
getting his little band together and made a 
gallant stand for half an hour, and might have 
continued it longer had not his ammunition 
failed Even during that short space of time 
prodigies of valour, if we are to believe some 
accounts, were enacted McLeod himself showed 
an example of bravery that elicited the respect 
of his foes ; while another, a near kinsman, 
** setting his back to the gable of a house, kept a 
number of assailants at bay until a tailor of the 
place, thinking to gain favour with the stronger 
party, mounted the roof of the house at the other 
end, and, crawling onwards, stabbed McLeod 
from above". It is added that, so far from 
giving the tailor a reward for this exploit, Lord 
Lewis ordered him to be shot. 

Another story relates a combat between 
Gordon of Blelack and young McLeod of Assynt, 
which ended in a similar way. They had known 
each other in boyhood, and in their frequent con- 
tests with foils it was hard to say which was the 
more expert Now they had met seemingly in 
mortal combat ; and for a time it appeared doubt- 

134 The Skirmish at Inverurie, 

ful which would fall by the other's hand. There 
they plied their weapons " by the misty moon- 
beam's glimmering light," none venturing to 
interfere, till at last Blelack's henchman, observ- 
ing his master sore pressed and falling back, 
stole in behind his antagonist and struck him be- 
hind the knee, hoping he would fall backwards, 
instead of which he stumbled forward and fell 
on the point of Blelack's sword. Some say the 
henchman hamstrung McLeod, but that is not 
believed. When it was found that his wound 
was mortal, Blelack was deeply moved, and 
taking him by the hand exclaimed : " Oh, 
McLeod, McLeod ! What would not your mother 
give to have you beside her to-night ! " 

It is needless to say that the McLeods were 
defeated. Among the Gordons there was immense 
jubilation over their victory. They marched 
back to Aberdeen in triumph, pipes playing, and 
banners flying; seized the provost in his own 
house, dragged him to the plaiTistanea ; and, as 
he still refused to drink King James's health, 
they poured the liquor down his breast, some say, 
his throat 

An amusing incident occurred during the 
scenes of revelry that followed the skirmish at 
Inverurie. A wandering minstrel, by name 
Charles Leslie, a natural son of the Laird of 
Pitcaple, on hearing of the victory, composed a 
ballad on the occasion, which he sang or lilted 

The Skirmish at Inverurie, 135 

through the streets of Aberdeen, for which per- 
formance he was seized by the magistrates and 
clapt into jaiL On the return of the victors from 
Inverurie, he was of course liberated He is 
described as a thin, spare man, with red bushy 
hair, small red eyes, out-set chin, and a small 
mouth, so small and puckered as to cause him 
to be known by the name of " mussel-mou'd 
Charlie ". He was a rabid Jacobite, and travelled 
the country selling story-books, songs, dying 
speeches, small almanacs and ballads of his 
own composition. He was the prototype of 
"Stachie Laing" — who by the way lies buried, 
but not commemorated, in the churchyard of 
Coldstone — or of the still more recent " Johnnie 
Milne of Li vet Glen ". Mussel-mou'd Charlie 
had some consolation for being laid in prison in 
being a witness of the scene with the provost on 
the plainstanes. He lived to be over 105 years 
of age. Here are a few verses of his ballad, 
which he was no sooner down the prison stair 
than he again began singing : — 

Gome, countryman, and sit awhile. 

And listen to my Bang, man ; 
I'll gie my aith 'twill gar ye smile 

And winna keep ye lang, man. 

How godless Whigs wi* their intrigues, 

Together did convene, man, 
At Inverurie, on the Biggs, 

On Thursday's aifterneen, man. 

136 The Skirmish at Inverurie, ' 

McLeod cam' doon frae Inverness, 

Wi* a' his clan an' mair, man, . 

The loyal Gordons to suppress, 

An' tirr their hurdies bare, man. 

The second chieftain of Monros 

Gam' 'cross the Moray Firth, man ; 
But ye shall hear, before ye go. 

The Gordons marred their mirth, man. 

Lord Lewis for the Royal cause. 

He fought wi' courage keen, man, 
His clan behaved as in the Raids, 

On Tuesday aifterneen, man. 

Blelack, wi' his trusty blade, 

A heart as stout as eteel, man, 
He lion-like about him laid, 

An' gart the rebels reel, man. 

Brave Avochie the water wade, 

While Crighton pap'd them down, man. 
Monaltrie and Stoneywood 

Drove them quite through the town, man. 

The pickets bold the field did grace, 

M'Dermond eek'd the slaughter ; 
Had ye been there to see the race, 

Ye'd rived yer chafts wi' laughter. 

McLeod that nicht got sic a fricht. 

Rode af! by break o' day, man, 
He tint his bridle in the fecht, 

Rode af! wi* ane o' strae, man. 

'Mang other things McLeod forgot, 

Was found upon the field, man, 
A guid claymore and tartan coat, 

An*8 luckydady's shield, man. 

Tke '45. 137 

Chalmers too, the Logic scholar, 
Was there to show his zeal, man, 

But frichtened wi' a hempen collar, 
His terrier phiz grew pale, man. 

There was mair than ten times six 
Were brought to Bon-Accord, man, 

Which did perplex and greatly vex 
The people of the Lord, man. 

Sir James Kinloch he marched them on 
To Perth, that stands on Tay, man, 

Where I shall leave them to ^xy- oh ! hon ! 
The day they crossed the Spey, man. 

John Chalmers, here referred to, was a pro- 
fessor or lecturer in King's College and Uni- 
versity, not, as some have supposed, the founder 
and first editor of the Aberdeen Journal, The 
prisoners taken did not number " ten times six " ; 
they were forty-one in all, and the slaughter 
was not great. 

Not much time was wasted at Aberdeen ; 
and very soon the whole force was on its march to 
join the Prince's army now returned to Scotland. 
The junction took place at Stirling, while the 
army was engaged in besieging the castle. The 
battle of Falkirk was fought on the 17th of 
January, 1746, a brilliant but fruitless victory 
for the Highlanders. After the action they 
returned to prosecute the siege of Stirling Castle, 
where Monaltrie and Blelack's men had much 

hard work in the trenches, work which the 

138 The '45. 

other Highlanders did not at all relish. Finding 
their efforts to take the Castle in vain, they 
raised the siege and on the 1st of February set 
out on their retreat to the nortL At Crieff 
the army broke up into two parties, one follow- 
ing the Highland road through Blair Athole. 
This division was commanded by the Prince in 
person. The other party under Lord George 
Murray took the Lowland road to Aberdeen. 
At Coupar-Angus, where they arrived on the 
3rd February, the contingent under Stoneywood 
and Monaltrie took the short way over the 
Capel Munth. It is a mistake to suppose, as 
some writers have done, that the Prince was 
with this division ; and that he was for a time 
storm-stayed in Clova. He was then with the 
West Highland division, having only Glenbucket 
and his company — mostly horsemen-^f East 
Highlanders in his train. On their arrival at 
Cortachy on the 4th February, the colours were 
lodged and the men dismissed, to shift for them- 
selves for two days. On the 6th they assembled 
in Clova ; but, the weather being bad, they re- 
turned to Cortachy. On the 9th the colours 
were again up the Glen in Clova. Here they 
were storm-stayed for two days ; but on the 12th 
they succeeded in crossing the Capel Munth 
and reaching the Spittal of Glenmuick. From 
this, on the 13th, they proceeded to Glenmuick 
Kirk, and thence next day — being Friday— to 

The '45. 139 

Colstone in Cromarr. Here the men were 
rested for only one day, the colours being con- 
veyed to Tarland On the 16th February they 
marched all the way to Reny (Rhynie) and next 
day to Keith. After this there was a good deal 
of marching and counter-marching, mostly in 
Morayshira The English army under the Duke 
of Cumberland was now following on their 
track, and detachments were scouring the 
country with the view of cutting off straggling 
partiea Fondly would Blelack's company and 
Monaltrie's have stayed behind or returned ; 
but they could not with safety do so now. 
They had not a moment's rest till the fatal 16th 
of April, 1746. The northward march had in- 
deed been so contrived as to enable most of 
them to visit their homes and deposit their 
booty; and in the remoter glens not a few 
remained safe from the English pickets for 
several weeks. The following letter clearly 
shows the condition and discipline of the High- 
land army after its return to the north. A 
considerable number of the Farquharsons had 
reached Braemar by the Caimwell, while Stoney- 
wood and Blelack were still storm-stayed in Glen 
Clova. They had quartered themselves on the 
Invercauld tenants, and taken in the mansion 
of the chief. 

"The Laird of Auchriachan to the Laird of 

I40 The '45. 

"Colonel James Moir of Stonnywood, At 

"Honoured Sir, I was very sony to have 
missed you at Braemar, where I expected to 
have received orders, as I was within 12 miles of 
my own country (Glenlivet) and wanted to get 
home and raise more men, particularly my de- 
serters; however my men declined going to 
Aberdeen, and would by no means condescend 
to go until they once got home to see their 
families, and my going without them alone was 
losing them for good and all, so that I presumed 
to go along with them in hopes of making some 
few more, and to keep them together. However 
I thought it my duty to run you this express, to 
receive your orders, and to learn where I am to 
meet and join battalion, which I can do at 
Strathbogy or Fochabers (if you march to Inver- 
ness), as both these places are within sixteen 
miles of my housa 

" I spoke to Mr. Abernethy this morning, call- 
ing for this week's pay, but he had it not, so 
that if you please to remit me a week's pay or 
so, by this bearer, this shall serve as receipt 
for the same; for, as I design to raise men, I 
must have my men dose on duty and on 

" If you want any Highland plaids or tartans 
for the men acquaint me, and I will endeavour 
to provide some. I beg you'll forgive this free- 

174^ A.D. Battle of Culloden, 141 

dome, and believe me to be, honoured Sir, your 
affectionate humble servant, 

"Donald Farquhabson, 

" Invercauld, 9th February, 1746." 

Donald Farquharson of Auchriachan was a 
captain in Monaltrie's regiment and an ancestor 
of the Alargue family. It is easy to see where 
he was to get the Highland plaids and tartans. 
The House of Invercauld was well stored with 
these articles, and Donald had no scruples in 
making free with them. He supposed that 
Stoneywood had gone to Aberdeen, and did not 
know that he was storm-stayed in Clova. As we 
have seen, he did not go to Aberdeen at all on 
this occasion. 

In the battle of Culloden, which took place on 
the 16th day of April, 1746, the Farquharsons 
were not present in full force. Most of the 
Invereye men had remained at home after reach- 
ing their own country from the south ; and when 
called out were too late to take part in the 
battle, only being in time to meet the fugitives 
some five or six miles from the fatal field. Those 
who were in time were joined to the M'Intoshes 
and were the first to make the attack on the 
English Monaltrie — the "Baron Ban" as he 
was sumamed — with Blelack, Whitehouse and 
the other Cromar men formed a body by them- 
selves, and took their station on the right centre 

142 Farquharson Family. 

of the front line of battle ; while Glenbucket and 
Lord Lewis Gordon formed the rear, and with 
them was the Prince. There is no need to 
describe the battle, which only lasted about forty 
minutes ; every one knows how it ended Ble- 
lack and Stoney wood escaped, Monaltrie was 
taken prisoner and Whitehouse slain on the field. 
The havoc among the rank and file was fright- 
ful ; but no account has survived of the slaughter 
in the Cromar contingent As Lord Lewis 
Gordon and Mr. Moir of Stoneywood, under 
whom some of them served, composed the rear 
guard, where the Prince was stationed, their 
losses were less severe than those of the 
Farquharsons under Monaltrie, who were in the 
front line. 

Harry Farquhabson of Whitehouse in the 
Braes of Cromar, who fell in the battle of 
CuUoden, was succeeded by a nephew, Peter 
Farquharson, whose father was long an eminent 
physician in Dundee. He sold the ancestral 
property in the Braes to the Earl of Aboyne, 
and bought another property in the Parish of 
Tough, to which he transferred the name of 
Whitehouse. Bred to the law, he became 
an advocate in Aberdeen ; and, being held in 
high esteem for his integrity and business 
capacity, was appointed by his chief, Mr. 
Farquharson of Invercauld, managing trustee on 
his extensive estates. In his own property he 

Local Leaders in the '45, 143 

was succeeded by his son, the late Andrew 
Farquharson, who was the last of all known 
male representatives, not only of his own family 
of Whitehouse, but also, with perhaps one 
exception, of the elder house of Monaltrie and 
the Farquharsons of Invereye. Some of the 
CuUoden hero's relatives emigrated to Jamaica, 
where they prospered ; but they never forgot the 
parish of their birth, and left considerable lega- 
cies for educational and charitable purposes, the 
benefits of which are enjoyed to the present day. 
John Gordon of Glenbucket escaped from 
Buchan to Norway, whence, after undergoing 
much privation and suffering, he made his way 
to France, where he was the recipient, for a few 
years, of a small pension from the Prince he had 
served so bravely. An old man, broken in 
health through the hardships he had endured, he 
did not long survive his exile. As a soldier in 
the Highland army his exploits of daring and 
bravery had inspired such terror into the 
English mind that even King George II. was 
said to have his nightly repose frequently dis- 
turbed by the fear of his approach, and to start 
from his sleep exclaiming, in his vernacular 
accents: "Ish ta great Glenbookat coming?'* 
Regarding Stoneywood's escape we extract the 
following from Dr. Stuart's account of it, as 
given in his preface to the first volume of the 
Miscellany of ike Spalding Club. 

144 Local Leaders in the '45, 

It is well known how ardently Prince Charies 
Edward desired an advance on the city of Lon- 
don, and how severely he was affected by the 
retreat from Derby The Laird of Stoneywood 
had advised the march into England, and he was 
of opinion that it should have been persevered in, 
contrary to the opinion held by the majority of 
the Prince's officers. Mr. Moir stood high in the 
estimation of the Prince; and to the warm in- 
terest which the latter showed in his welfare at 
a subsequent period, he was considerably in- 
debted Mr. Moir had believed in the popular 
report of the treachery of Lord George Murray ; 
and, on his regiment being broken at CuUoden, 
it is said, in that moment of vexation and anger, 
that he met this nobleman and upbraided him as 
a traitor to the cause. After that fatal conflict, 
Mr. Moir reached his house of Stoneywood, 
which had been for some time occupied by a 
party of English troops. He narrowly escaped 
detection ; and, fleeing into the district of Buchan, 
was concealed in the house of a crofter of the 
name of Bartlet, in the parish of Cruden, a re- 
treat which had been prepared for him by the 
exertions of a faithful retainer. He found it 
necessary to remove his quarters to the house of 
John Clark, a cobbler, who led a solitary life in 
a remote part of the country, and was father to 
the wife of his late host. Here he contrived a 
concealment behind his bed, to which he retired 

Local Leaders in the '45, 145 

on the approach of any one to the house. With 
the view of amusing himself, Mr. Moir made 
himself acquainted with the humble art professed 
by his host, in which he soon acquired a skill 
quite surprising to his teacher. It was the 5th 
of November, 1746, before adequate means of 
leaving Scotland could be procured by him. On 
that day, Stoneywood and his brother Charles, 
who had also been engaged in the rebellion, along 
with Gordon of Glenbucket, Sir Alexander Ban- 
nerman, and two other gentlemen of the Prince's 
army, eipbarked on board a small sloop, on the 
coast of Buchan, which was bound for Norway. 
Having arrived in that country, he proceeded 
from thence to Sweden, and having reached 
Gottenburg he proposed to enter into trade. 
In the meantime, he preferred a claim of in- 
demnification on the French Government, from 
having, at his own private expense, raised, clothed, 
and victualled his regiment, in the Prince's service, 
until it was ready to join the army. His claim 
was not disputed, and he received 1500 livres in 
payment of it, which, however, was a very in- 
adequate remuneration for his outlay. Mr. Moir 
had assumed the name of Jamieson, which he 
deemed it advisable to retain, as he was especially 
excepted from the Act of Indemnity, which was 
passed at this tima After a short residence at 
Gottenburg, he was joined there by his wife. 
He now hesitated whether he would prosecute 

146 Local Leaders in the '45, 

his mercantile intentions or engage in the French 
service, and entered into a correspondence on the 
subject with James Leslie, secretary to the Prince, 
who, on the 24th January, 1747, thus writes to 
Mr. Moir from Paris. " In my humble opinion, 
if you think you can make a tolerable livelyhood 
in the mercantile way, it will be much surer, 
then what you can have here ; but, if you come, 
I am confident the Prince will, as it is just, doe 
all his endeavour to provide for you, so you are 
best able to judge yourself what will be most 
convenient for you to doe ; and, if you think me 
capable to rendre you any service, depend upon 
it, none will be more willing*. In case you de- 
termine [to settle in] the mercantil way, you 
have here a letter of recommendation for the 
French ambassador, who I am persuaded will 
rendre you all the service he can." 

The offers of assistance which Mr. Moir re- 
ceived from the French ambassador determined 
him to adhere to his mercantile projects ; but, 
while engrossed in arrangements connected with 
these, he received an order from the King of 
Sweden to repair to Stockholm. On his arrival 
there he found that Prince Charles Edward had 
written to the Swedish Court strongly recom- 
mending him. On this occasion Mr. Moir re- 
ceived from the Swedish king the gift of natural- 
isation, which, by freeing him from certain 
taxes exigible from foreigners, materially 

Stoneywood Family. 147 

assisted him in his new pursuits. He was 
also honoured with a patent of nobility, which, 
along with other family papers, is yet in the 
possession of his representative. 

Mr. Moir's health began to give way in 1761 ; 
and in the course of the ensuing year, after 
many negotiations, he was allowed to return to 
Scotland, where he again took up his abode at 
Stoneywood in 1762. He died in 1782, leaving, 
of a very large family, only two daughters, of 
whom the elder was married to George Skene of 
Rubislaw. In his absence his affairs had fallen 
into considerable disorder ; and some years after 
his death the inheritance of his fathers was sold. 
The present representative of this ancient family 
is James Skene, Esq., of Rubislaw, so well 
known for his taste and skill in Scottish anti- 
quities and the fine arts. The editor gratefully 
acknowledges the obligations under which he 
lies to the son of Mr. Skene, William F. Skene, 
Esq., W.S., of the Register House, Edinburgh, 
who communicated to him the valuable collection 
of letters from which the present selection is 
printed, and an interesting notice of the family 
of Moir of Stoneywood, drawn up by his father, 
from which the particulars regarding Mr. Moir 
have been gathered. 

Along with the family papers there has de- 
scended to their present possessor a relic of a 
nature so interesting that the writer cannot refrain 

148 Stoneywood Family. 

from adverting to it It is said that when Charles 
L was on the scaffold, the unfortunate monarch 
placed in the hands of Bishop Juxon, who attended 
him in his last moments, a Bible, addressing to him 
at the same time the emphaticinjunction, '* Remem- 
ber ''. Between Bishop Juxon and Patrick Scougal, 
who was Bishop of Aberdeen from 1664 to 1682, 
a connection existed, the precise nature of which 
has not been ascertained It is certain, however, 
that Bishop Juxon bequeathed to Bishop Scougal 
the Bible which he had received in such awfully 
interesting circumstances from his sovereign. 
Dr. William Scroggie, for some time minister at 
Old Aberdeen, but who was elected to fill the See 
of Argyle in 1666, married the eldest daughter of 
the Bishop Scougal; and, on the 10th of July, 
1683, James Moir of Stoneywood was married to 
Mary Scroggie, eldest daughter of the Bishop of 
Argyle. Through this channel, the Bible origin- 
ally given to Bishop Juxon descended to the 
Moirs of Stoneywood. A short time before the 
property was sold, this valuable relic was stolen, 
along with a gold piece, which had been given by 
the Lady of Frazer of Muchalls to the ancestor 
of Mr. Moir who first purchased Stonejrwood. 
It was designed as a talisman for the preserva- 
tion of the estate, so long as the family should 
keep possession of the coin, and it had been 
preserved for many generations in the charter 
chest at Stoneywood. After being thus abstracted. 

Stoneywood Family. 149 

it was never again heard of ; the thief, who was 
one of the female servants at Stoneywood, found 
the Bible to be a less marketable article, as its 
history was well known in the country. She 
accordingly came by night to Stoneywood, and 
deposited the volume at the foot of a large chest- 
nut tree which overshaded the entrance of the 
front court of the house, where it was found next 
morning. It was not returned altogether in the 
same state as when it had been abstracted. The 
depredator had offered the volume for sale to a 
bookseller in Aberdeen, who, although he declined 
to purchase it, thought proper to abstract the 
blank leaf on which the monarch's autograph 
was thus written: "Charles Stuart, an. dom. 
1649". This leaf he pasted upon another old 
Bible, which, it is said, he disposed of to a noble 
collector of rarities in the north, for a large 
sum, as a Bible of Charles I. The family relic is 
magnificently bound in light blue velvet, having 
the royal arms and initials embroidered in silver 
gilt on the boards. Having been long used as a 
register of the births, deaths and marriages of 
the family, as well as for the daily purposes of 
domestic devotion, its original lustre has dis- 
appeared ; but there is no doubt of its authenti- 
city and of its regular descent to its present 
possessor. A fine portrait of Bishop Juxon was 
preserved among the family pictures at Stoney- 
wood and is now also in the possession of Mr. Skene. 

150 Local Leaders in the '45. 

Of the other Deeside leaders in the rebellion 
the following short accounts may be given, 
mostly gleaned from the reports of their trials 
as published in the LoTidon Jowmal of 1746. 

Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie, the 
"Baron Ban," was taken prisoner at CuUoden. 
From Inverness he was sent in a transport vessel 
to London with several others in the same un- 
happy position. It was generally remarked of 
him that he was the handsomest and finest-look- 
ing oflScer in the Prince s army ; and, as it was 
with his regiment that the Cromar and Deeside 
men were enrolled and served, we venture to 
give a somewhat fuller account of his trial and 
romantic escape than has hitherto been published 

On his arrival in London he was first com- 
mitted to the Tower and afterwards to the 
Marshalsea Prisoa His name appears in a long 
list of attainted leaders in the rebellion issued 
by the Government early in May, 1746. In this 
list also are included the names of Lord George 
Murray, Lord Lewis Gordon, James Moir of 
Stoneywood, John Gordon of Glenbucket, and 
several other gentlemen belonging to the north- 
eastern shires. In a " list of the rebel oflSicers, 
prisoners on board the transports arrived at 
Woolwich," he is styled Colonel Francis Far- 
quharson, and ranks fourth among forty-five 
taken at the battle of Culloden. A bill of in- 
dictment for high treason was lodged in court 

Local Leaders in the '45. 151 

against him on 23rd August, where he is de- 
scribed as " Francis Farquharson, Colonel of his 
own regiment," and along with him a "John 
Farquharson, Captain in ditto". We have not 
been able to discover for certain who this Captain 
John Farquharson was, but think he was the 
Laird of AUanquoich in Braemar. True bills for 
high treason were found against them and the 
other prisoners mentioned in the previous list; 
and they were remanded till their trial should 
be fixed 

"On Tuesday, 2nd September, Mr. Justice 
Foster being seated on the Bench, at St. Mar- 
garet's Hill, Mr. Attorney-General moved that 
the prisoners, against whom Bills of Indictment 
were found, might be brought to the Bar and 
arraigned thereon." This was done, when 
eighteen of them, among whom were Monaltrie 
and his captain, John Farquharson, pleaded not 
guilty. "And then the Court adjourned to 
13th October." Up to that time almost every 
available day was occupied by the court sitting 
at St. Margaret's Hill, Southwark, trying the 
rebels, who were brought up in batches of ten or 
a dozen at a time. During these trials some 
curious items of information were elicited. 

There had been a good deal of boasting by the 
Highlanders of the deeds of arms performed by 
some of them in the battle. John Mor Macgilvra, 
major of the Macintoshes, was said to have killed 

152 Local Leaders in the '45. 

a dozen men with his broadsword, while some of 
the halberts were run into his body. When 
Cumberland heard of it he said he would have 
given a great sum of money to have saved his 
life. The boasting was now on the other side. 
It was mentioned at a sitting of the court on 
15th September " that there were three butchers 
of Nottingham, that had entered the Duke of 
Kingston's regiment, who killed fourteen rebels 
each at the battle of Culloden ''. But the common 
tone of the poor prisoners* pleading was that 
they were forced into the rebellion against their 
will Many were the charges laid against Gor- 
don of Qlenbucket for the extreme measures he 
adopted in bringing in recruits. 

Before their trial came on, several of the 
prisoners of the less prominent rank had made 
their escape, sometimes by very ingenious con- 
trivances. Only the leaders and those against 
whom some special crime was charged seem to 
have been very strictly guarded. At Carlisle, 
127 prisoners were put upon trial, of whom 
91 received sentence of death, but they were 
not all executed. If not so many at York, 
there were more in London. Before the event- 
ful 13th October it had become evident that the 
wisest course for the prisoners was to plead 
guilty, and throw themselves on the King's 
mercy. The English people had become sated 
with executions, and were now more disposed 

Local Leaders in the '45, 153 

to mercy, especially as the rebellion seemed to 
be thoroughly stamped out. Accordingly, when 
put on their trial, both Colonel Francis Farquhar- 
son and his captain, John, pleaded guilty; but 
no symptom of mercy appeared in either judge 
or jury, and sentence of death was passed upon 
them. Whether the captain suffered is not 
known ; but this is what we read of Monaltrie : 
"The rebels who were executed on Keiyiington 
Common on 28th November behaved with much 
unconcern. Hamilton smiled several times 
before he was put into the sledge, and Wood 
called for a glass of wine and drank the Pre- 
tender's health. Colonel Farquharson, Thomas 
Watson, and James Lindsay were to have 
suffered with them; but the two former were 
reprieved early in the morning, and the last as 
he was haltering to go into the sledge." Though 
Monaltrie was reprieved, he was not pardoned, 
and was sent back to prison to wait the king's 
further pleasure. It was said that he owed his 
life and liberty to the intercession of a lady, high 
in favour at court ; but he himself was reticent 
on the subject, as well as on that of his escape from 
prison soon after. He did not, however, return to 
Scotland till long after the Act of Indemnity of 
1748 had placed him out of danger of his life ; but 
remained in concealment with a relative in Don- 
caster, where he was little sought after. His 
forfeited estate was meanwhile administered by 

154 Local Leaders in the '45, 

the Court of Exchequer, with which his uncle 
of Invercauld had sufficient interest to have 
himself appointed judicial factor. The " Baron 
Ban " did not come again into legal possession till 
1784. He died in 1791, universally respected 
for his quiet life and the improvements he 
effected in the making of roads and planting of 

The above is the generally received account of 
the " Baron Ban's " escape from prison and con- 
cealment in En^and. It is, however, defective 
in some respects and inaccurate in others. Through 
the kindness of Mr. Farquharson of Invercauld 
the writer has lately had an opportunity of 
examining a portion of the large collection of 
valuable historical documents deposited among 
the family papers in the charter room at Inver- 
cauld. In his inspection of these he was fortunate 
in discovering a memorandum in the Baron's 
own handwriting minutely detailing the changes 
in his circumstances from his capture on the field 
of CuUoden to his return to Deeside. From this 
document it appears that, on being taken prisoner, 
he was brought to Inverness, where he was 
detained for one month and thirteen days ; and 
on the 29th May was put on board a transport 
ship to be conveyed to Ijondon, where he arrived 
24th June. He was then lodged in Newgate 
Jail, where he lay under sentence of death till 
13th October, when he was reprieved, as above 

Local Leaders in the '45, 155 

stated A condition of his reprieve was that he 
should leave the kingdom and never return — a 
condition which, he states, was never sought to 
be put in execution. He continued a prisoner in 
Newgate till 30th July, 1747 — one year one 
month and six days. He then received a pardon 
for the capital offence on condition of his re- 
maining in London under charge of a messenger- 
at-arms. From that day till 8th August, 1748, 
he was under charge of this officer, when he was 
released on parole that he should not go north- 
wards of the river Trent towards Scotland. 
" From that day to 17 th October I was a prisoner 
at large in London; the which day I came to 
Berkhamstead (a town in Hertfordshire, twenty- 
eight miles from London), and remained there 
17 years. Liberated from Berkhamstead, I 
returned to Scotland in the year 1766, having 
been 19 years 6 months 1 day a prisoner in 
England." During his residence at Berkham- 
stead he made the acquaintance of Mr. Eyre of 
Hessop in Derbyshire, whose daughter he married ; 
and it was only on her decease without issue that 
he sought and obtained permission to return to 

Charles Gordon of Blelack narrowly es- 
caped apprehension on several occasions. He 
along with his friend and fellow-officer, Forbes 
of Brux, skulked about Kildrummy for some 
time after their flight from CuUoden ; but, 

156 Local Leaders in the '45. 

finding this mode of life uncomfortable as well 
as dangerous, they sought and obtained conceal- 
ment in the Manse of Towie, the occupant of 
which was the Kev. James Lumsden, who was 
also Laird of Corrachree in Cromar. It is a 
remarkable fact, that, though the parish ministers 
were the strongest opponents of the rebellion, 
and did all in their power to persuade their 
parishioners to take no part in it, yet when it 
was quelled none more than they sympathised 
with the misguided fugitivea As the manses 
were places above suspicion, they generally 
became asylums for hunted men. Blelack and 
Brux were admitted in the silence of the night 
and assigned quarters in a long unused garret. 
Mary Grant, the minister's wife, was full of 
compassion for their hapless lot, and took every 
precaution to keep their presence in the garret a 
profound secret, known only to herself and the 
minister. She carried with her own hands their 
victuals to them, cautioning them against making 
any noise, or even moving about in their narrow 
apartment during the day. A plan was also 
adopted whereby they might steal out softly 
when the servants were asleep and take a dander 
by the river-Side ; but " they must be sure to creep 
back again as gently as possible before any lum 
in sight was reekan ". For a time all went well 
But Mrs. Lumsden had an old maiden sister living 
at the manse, who was mightily scandalised at 

Local Leaders in the '45. 157 

the waste of food that she saw going on and 
could not account for. There were puddings 
and hams and many delicacies never tasted that 
failed to reappear at table, and nobody knew 
what had become of them. It was in vain 
to point out that there were two pigs being 
fed in the sowhouse. "If the swine were 
being fed on victuals like that, it was a 
shame to be heard tell o'." The maid- 
servants also had become suspicious that " a' 
wisna richt about the manse". One of them 
" had heard some stichlan ae night, an' she was 
sure it wisna the rottans *\ Another had seen 
" the shadow o* something gaan past the window 
in the grey o' the momin* afore she was richt 
wauken'd ". In short the manse was haunted ; 
there was no doubt about it Mrs. Lumsden 
favoured this opinion, and advised her servants 
to let the ghosts alone, as they would do nobody 
any barm if they were not meddled with. The 
two fugitives, to keep up the guise, began to play 
tricks on the girls, tossing bits of turf at them 
now and again, to their very great terror. There 
was another watchful, if not jealous, eye, not 
altogether deceived by appearances. John, the 
minister's man, was consulted by the maids about 
what they had seen and heard. Miss Grant, who 
disbelieved the story about the ghosts, took John 
into her confidence, and expressed to him her 
doubts and suspiciona "I'm like you, mem," 

158 Local Leaders in the '45, 

said John, " I dinna ken about sic ghaists gaan 
about cloddan the quines in the gloarain*." 
Ifa short it was time for the fugitives to decamp ; 
and they did so, Blelack taking refuge at Mill 
of Gellan in the parish of CouU, the occupant of 
which, being a tenant of the Earl of Aboyne, 
was supposed to be unfriendly to the insurgents. 
In this respect he was in the same position as 
the parish ministers. Blelack had occupied his 
house during the raising of the Cromar men ; 
and, as we have seen, dated one of his letters 
to Stoneywood from that place. Here he lay 
concealed for some time. 

Prior to the battle of CuUoden, Lord George 
Murray had garrisoned a line of forts to protect 
the Highlands from the invasion of the English 
soldiers. The principal of these were Fort 
Augustus on Loch Ness, Ruthven in Badenoch, 
and Corgarff Castle in the Highlands of Aber- 
deenshire. Fort Augustus fell immediately after 
the battle, and was blown up; Ruthven held 
out for nearly a month longer; and Corgarff 
sheltered a body of Highlanders till towards the 
end of June. Lord Ancrum, to whom Cumber- 
land had committed the charge of pacifying the 
eastern counties, resolved to displace them ; and 
for this purpose marched with a select body of 
horse and foot from Aberdeen, taking, as a guide 
to the party, John McConnach, Blelack's former 
henchman, whose part in the skirmish at In- 

Local Leaders in the '45. 159 

verurie we have already noticed, not altogether 
with approbation. It is evident that McConnach 
was now acting the part of a spy on the designs 
of the English, and with this view had contrived 
to get himself into considerable favour with them. 
His object on this occasion was to retard the 
march of Ancrum's company as much as possible, 
and to give warning to his friends in the castle 
to provide for their safety. Marching some dis- 
tance in front of the party, he would now and 
then call out : " The enemy, my lord, the enemy ! " 
Lord Ancrum would call a halt and make dis- 
positions to receive an attack. As no enemy 
appeared, McConnach after much delay would 
be sent on to reconnoitre. It is to be presumed 
he would be very cautious and slow, but at length 
he would return with the report : " Cattle feeding, 
my lord, cattle feeding ". Having practised this 
dodge as often as he thought judicious, he at last 
conducted the party to Corgarff Castle, which 
they found deserted. 

Ancrum, however, deemed it advisable to 
station a party of his own soldiers there to over- 
awe the district and hunt down the fugitives 
lurking in these wild parts. McConnach was 
put in charge of the canteen, and kept his ears 
open to the babbling of the dragoons when in their 
cups. One night he learned from this source that 
a party was getting ready to capture Charles 
Gordon of Blelack, who, they had secret infor- 

i6o Local Leaders in the '45, 

mation, was in hiding at Mill of Gellan, twenty- 
four miles distant. This plan must be frustrated : 
Blelack was his dear master, and must be saved 
at all hazards. He set out therefore as soon as 
his duties permitted ; and, though the night was 
short, by taking a near cut through the hills, he 
reached his destination an hour before the horse- 
men, and got his master conveyed to a place of 
safety, and himself well on his way back to Cor- 
garff, where he had never been missed. On 
searching the house and finding the hiding place, 
the dragoons shook their heads, saying to the 
tenant : " Aye, aye, Mr. Gordon, somebody has 
been here before us : the nest is warm, but the 
bird is flown **. 

Whither Blelack next fled is not certain ; but 
it was not long till the search for him was so 
much relaxed that with ordinary caution he 
might easily have evaded the abated vigilance of 
the military parties still left in the country. It 
is generally supposed that he did not leave Soot- 
land, but took refuge with his sister, Helen, then 
residing with her family in the Parish of Dun- 
ottar, near Stonehaven. His mother continued 
to administer the estate, much to its advantage. 
She was, as we have seen, possessed of a mascu- 
line character, and required it ; for she had a 
difficult part to perform. Being left a widow in 
1724 with four of a family, the youngest an 
infant, it availed her little that her jointure 

Local Leaders in the '45. i6i 

amounted to half the property. Her eldest son, 
John, a minor, died in 1726. The second son, 
Charles, our hero, would have succeeded, but he 
too was a minor, so that for many years the lady 
had the management of the whole estate as well 
as the care of the family. Charles was married 
and twenty-eight years of age when the re- 
bellion broke out. The part he took in it re- 
sulted in the burning of the mansion house and 
the forfeiture of half the estate. About the 
same time she lost her youngest son, Alexander, 
who died unmarried- She was alive in 1753, 
and it is believed that it was about this time 
that Charles first showed himself openly about 
Blelack. Soon after this the building of a new 
mansion was begun on the site where the present 
one stands. It was not, however, till 1784 that 
the forfeited lands were legally restored to 
Charles, though the administration of them, 
under trustees appointed by the Court of Ex- 
chequer, had been entirely directed by him for 
about twenty years previously, and few knew 
but that he was the laird de jure as well as de 
facto. He enjoyed the legal possession for only 
one year. He died in 1785, leaving an only 
child, Isabel, who became the wife of George 
Forbes of Skellater, and is believed to have died 
without issue. Hls successor was the grandson 
of hLs sister, Helen, Charles Rose Gordon, who, 
" having light hair (that of the Gordons being 


1 62 

Blelack Family, 

dark), was known as * the Red Laird '. He left 
a half-witted son, Keith Gordon, who died 
almost a pauper in 1869, aged 73, at Faimrae in 
Towie." Thus ended the line of the old Gordons 
OF Blelack. 




John Gordon,* 
d. 1668. 

John Gordon, t 
V. 16W. 

John G. m. Marie Forbes, 
V. 1715. 

Charles Gordon. 


Isabella Gordon 

m. George Forbes 

of SkeUater. 

Alexander m. Isabel Forbes, \ 
d. c. 1723. 

d. c. 


ordon, Charles § Helen Alexander, 

1726. m. Ann m. Hugh d. abroad. 

Urquhart, Bose of 
d. 1786. TiUyhermack. 
James Bose. 
Charles Bose Gordon. || 

Keith Gordon, 
d. 1869. 

* Of the house of Abergeldie, Blain at battle of Corrichie. 
f Presided at trials of witches ; held first charter from Earl of 
Mar. X Held tinder renewed charter from Earl of Mar. 

§ The rebel laird. 
II " The Bed Laird," who sold the property, 1794. 

Blelack Proprietors. 163 

The estate was sold in 1794 by the " Red 
Laird " to William Gordon — no relative, though 
bearing the same surname. '' He was a native of 
the district, but had left it in early life for 
Dundee, where he carried on the trade of a 
vintner, or innkeeper, so successfully that he 
bought the estate of Blelack with the profits 
of his business ; and was in consequence styled 
*the Vintner Laird'." Such is Mr. Jervise's 
account. He adds : " Before buying Blelack, he 
showed his goodness of heart by erecting a 
monument (table-shaped) at Logic to the memory 
of an uncle, upon which is this inscription : — 

"* Donald Gordon from Ballneyan, died 11 
January, 1776, aged 98, in gratitude to whose 
memory, his nephew, William Gordon, Vintner, 
Dundee, caused this stone to be erected. 

*'' Although this tomb no boasted titles keep, 

Yet silent here the private virtues sleep ; 

Truth, candour, justice, altogether ran 

And formM a plain, upright, honest man. 

No courts he saw, nor mixt in publick rage, 

Stranger to all the vices of the age ; 

No lie nor slander did his tongue defile — 

A plain old Britton, free from pride and guile. 

Near five score years he numbered ere he died, 

And every year he numbered he enjoyed. 

This modest stone, which few proud Marbles can, 

May truly say, Here lies an honest man ; 

Ye great, whose heads are laid as low, 

Rise higher if ye can.' " 

164 Blelack Proprietors, 

The first appearance of the " Vintner '* laird of 
Blelack in the Parish Church is thus noticed 
(3rd May, 1794) in the books of the church 
treasurer : " Mr. Gordon, the new proprietor of 
the lands of Blelack, being in the church, gave 
a guinea to the poor, which made that day's 
collection to be £1 38. 7d. ". 

Mr. Jervise was not quite correct in saying 
that it was from his profits as a vintner that he 
was enabled to purchase the property of Blelack. 
We have ascertained through the kindness of 
his great-grandnephew, Mr. J. Forbes, lately of 
the Commercial Bank of Australia, the follow- 
ing particulars regarding this Laird of Blelack. 
William Gordon of Dundee and Woodhaven 
owned the estates of Blelack and Tilliepronie in 
Aberdeenshire from 1794 till his death in 1802. 
He obtained a considerable fortune by his 
marriage with Barbary Stark, heiress of William 
Syme of Dundee and Woodhavea The title 
deeds show that Barbary Stark inherited from 
W. Syme certain lands in Dundee; also the 
property of Woodhaven House in the Parish of 
Newport, Fifeshire; and a burial ground in 
the churchyard of Kilmany, also in Fifeshire. 
Woodhaven is on the Fife shore of the Firth of 
Tay, just opposite Dundee. Mr. Forbes adds: 
" I have further ascertained that, when Wol 
Gordon returned to Aberdeenshire in 1794, he 
unfortunately invested largely in the Deeside 

Blelack Proprietors, 165 

Roads, and so lost a portion of his wife's fortune. 
Probably you understand better than I do about 
these Deeside Roada'* 

It was just about that time that the Com- 
mutation Road Act became law, substituting 
an annual money payment for the old statute 
labour provision. The immediate result was 
that a large sum of money was borrowed by 
the Road Trustees on the security of the rates 
imposed by the Act. Much road-making then 
took place, without much, if any, return for 
the outlay for many years. This is the only 
explanation we can offer of the loss referred 

" Wm. Gordon's elder daughter, Anne, married 
firstly Peter Lumsdaine, Esq., of Kilmaron in 
Fifeshire, and was a widow in 1810. She mar- 
ried secondly the Rev. A. Melville, minister of 
the parish of Logic in the Presbytery of Couper. 
She had no diildren, although Mr. Melville left 
children by a previous marriage. 

"Wm. Gordons younger daughter, Susanna, 
married the Rev. P. D. Swan, minister of the 
parish of Ferry-port-on-Craig, who died before 
1830. She also left no children. 

"None of Wm. Gordon's three children left 
issue ; so that his descendants are now quite 

Tlie tombstones in the churchyard of Kilmany 
bear out the above statements. That over Mr. 

1 66 BUlack Proprietors, 

Gordon's own grave is inscribed : " William 
Gordon of Dundee, Woodhaven and Blelack, died 

" His Wife, Barbary Stark " (date illegible). 

Then follow the names of their three children, 
date of death and age, as above noted. 

In his article on the churchyard of Logic Mr. 
Jervise records that William Gordon of Blelack 
had a sister who married James Clark, farmer. 
Came, by whom she had at least one son and 
three daughters. The son, who was a preacher, 
became schoolmaster of Daviot in Aberdeenshire, 
where he died in 1849 aged forty -nine. He was 
father of William, who became Vicar of Taunton 
in Somersetshire. 

When everything is taken into consideration, 
the proprietorship of Blelack lost no prestige by 
the interpolation in its ranks of William Gordon, 
the " vintner laird ". 

It may be convenient here to note the subse- 
quent changes in its ownership to the present 

William Gordon, son of the last-named laird, 
soon after his father's death in 1802, sold the estate 
to John Forbes of Newe, who bequeathed it to 
his relative, the Rev. George Forbes, D.D., minis- 
ter of Strathdon, for behoof of his son, now 
General Sir John Forbes of Invereman, by whom 
it was sold in 1862 to Sir Alexander Anderson, 
then Lord Provost of Aberdeen, who sold it in 

Blelack Proprietors. 167 

1869 to William Coltman, Esq., of Deskry, the 
present proprietor, who has done much to im- 
prove it, in whose hands and those of his de- 
scendants it is earnestly hoped it may long 

It may be added that the mansion house, built 
by the CuUoden laird, and enlarged by subse- 
quent proprietors, was accidentally destroyed by 
fire in the autumn of 1868. Since it became the 
property of Mr. Coltman in the following year it 
has been rebuilt and remodelled on an extensive 
scale, till it is now the handsome mansion repre- 
sented in our frontispiece. It may be added 
that it contains one of the finest private libraries 
in the county. 

The transference of a property from an 
ancient race of owners to a new family was 
very generally attended with some local legend, 
often wide of the truth, but highly characteristic 
of the romantic ideas entertained regarding such 
transactions in the olden timea They usually 
hinged on some quirk or quibble in the law, 
or on some unguarded expression in the course 
of bargain-making. An estate in Cromar is 
reported to have been acquired in exchange for 
a grey mare, and another for a tartan plaid; 
while the bondage of huTi-sucken or thirlage, 
due by certain tenants in the Braes and Black- 
mill to the Mill of the Abbey of Lindores in 
Dundee, was got rid of by slyly taking ad- 

1 68 Blelack Proprietors. 

vantage of an opportunity when the miller was 
unable to perform his part of the stipulation. 

The legend relating to the transference of 
Blelack from the possession of the red to that of 
the vintner laird is of a highly romantic char- 
acter. It happened on one occasion, when re- 
turning to Dundee, after a visit to his relatives 
in the Braes of Cromar, where he had learned 
that the estate of Blelack was likely soon to be 
in the market, that the vintner, while riding 
through an unfrequented part of the country, 
overtook what appeared to be a poor old woman, 
toiling along under a load with which she was 
greatly oppressed ; and, being asked if he 
would give her a lift on her way, as she was 
very tired and foot-sore, he took pity upon her, 
spread his plaid for a pillion behind his saddle, 
and invited her to get up, placing his foot so as 
to assist her into her seat, which she reached with 
an agility that not a little surprised him. Once 
there she with both hands clasped him round the 
waist, to make her position secure, as the manner 
of riding double then was, the bundle being at- 
tached to the saddle by a cord. Night was 
now coming on ; and, as they were passing 
through a wood, Gordon felt himself being 
clasped in so tight and uncomfortable a fashion 
that he began to suspect that all was not right 
with the " wifie ". He determined therefore 
to be on his guard, and get rid of her as soon 

Blelack Proprietors. 169 

as possible. Before he could do so, however, he 
observed some men moving in the wood in a 
manner to excite his suspicions still more. They 
were armed robbers, and his fellow-traveller 
was their accomplice. The- vintner was equal 
to the emergency. Shaking himself clear of 
his companion, who was attempting to get hold 
of the reins, he put spurs to his horse ; and, 
though the bullets were whistling around him, 
he succeeded in effecting his escape unhurt, and 
never drew bridle till he reached his own inn 
in Dundee. 

He now resolved to examine the wallet, which 
had remained attached to the saddle. To his 
surprise he found it filled with gold pieces, the 
loot of the robbers for several months past. 
Only one conclusion could be drawn from the 
almost miraculous manner in which it had come 
into his possession. It had doubtless been a gift 
sent him by Providence for the purchase of the 
estate of Blelack. 

He lost no time in acting on this impression. 

Having learned from his friends in the Braes 

that the estate was to be sold, he immediately 

set out for the north ; and, after consulting with 

a relative of the name of Emslie as to its value, 

he proceeded to the mansion house to see the 

red laird and arrange for its purchase. He 

found the laird a stiff customer; and, though 

Providence had in a manner given *him the 

170 Blelack Proprietors, 

wherewithal to acquire it, he, on hie part, felt 
it would be contrary to all precedent and the 
recognised rules of bargain-making, if he were 
not to use his best endeavour to get it at as 
cheap a price as possible. 

Much anxiety was felt in the Braes as to the 
issue. Emslie had arranged with his friend for 
a signal. He was to plant himself on an emi- 
nence near Knockdu, where he could see all the 
way to the House of Blelack, and to be on the 

It was by no means an easy matter to strike 
a bargain in those days, especially in such an 
important affair as the purchase of an estate. 
The parties on this occasion were both stiff 
hands. It could not be concluded without 
personal inspection of some of the advantages 
and resources of the property. Poldu was one 
of them, and thither they bent their steps. The 
red laird pointed out that here was a perfect 
mine of wealth. " Why," said he, " you may see 
the yellow gold shining in the very water. I 
assure you if I had money to work it up, I 
would not part with it on any account." " That 
may be so," replied the vintner, " but all that I 
can see is a dirty black pool." " Well, come and 
see the moss. You'll admit that moss is a valu- 
able possession on any estate." 

To the moss they went, and from the moss 
across the march to a point where a good part 

Blelach Proprietors. 171 

of the property was in view. The spot was the 
rising ground where the eirde house was lately 
discovered by Mr. George Gauld, to whom the 
writer is indebted for the above particulars, and 
who obtained them from persons who firmly 
believed in their authenticity. One of his in- 
formants was the late Meggie Emslie, a shrewd 
and intelligent old lady, whose memory was 
filled to overflowing with old lore, which with 
other ladylike endowments made her conversa- 
tion much relished by her more intelligent 
neighbours. She had even been taken notice of 
by Her Most Gracious Majesty, whom she 
addressed in l&nguage that would not have 
disgraced a trained courtier. In her latter days 
she was the recipient of the bounty of the 
present proprietor of Blelackj and the object of 
much kindness and attention from his lady and 
family. If she was, as she herself believed, 
descended from the stock of the vintner laird 
and the last representative of his race, it is a 
singular circumstance that she should have 
ended her days on the property, after it had 
passed through the hands of four or five different 
families, and almost under the shadow of the 
mansion house. 

From this digression let us return to our 
bargain-makers. There on the very knoll where, 
thousands of years before, our prehistoric fore- 
fathers had transacted business in their own 

172 Corrachree Proprietors, 

way, the bargain was struck, and Blelack passed 
out of the line of the old Gordons. Emslie then 
received the preconcerted signal, which was that 
his friend should take out his white pocket- 
handkerchief and walk three steps northward 
with it in his hand, returning again to his former 
position. If he did this only once or twice, it 
meant that the purchase had not been made; 
but, if he did it thrice, it meant that he was 
laird of Blelack. The third time came, and 
there were bonfires in the Braes that evening. 


The earliest notice of Corrachree, as a separate 
property, is contained in the charter (already 
noticed) of James IV. (1507) to Alexander, son 
of Sir John Elphinston of Kildrummy. Some- 
time during the administration of the Earldom 
of Mar by the Earl of Huntly, probably about 
the year 1562, the property was conferred upon 
George Gordon of Tilphoudie ; and afterwards 
confirmed to his son and successor, Patrick 
Gordon (1580). His son, Robert Gordon, seems 
to have been the first resident proprietor, and to 
have built a mansion house, whereof the 
date (1611) still remains, apparently in its 
original position. He had four brothers, John 
and Alexander by his father's first marriage, 
and Thomas and Patrick by his second. He 

Corrachree Proprietors, 173 

himself was the eldest son of the second mar- 
riage. It would appear that one of these 
brothers — but which, we have not been able 
to ascertain — became laird of Logic; and that 
between them there were several agreements 
as to privileges and servitudes which the tenants 
of the one were to receive from or give to those 
of the other. One has survived to the present 
day, namely, the right of the Corrachree tenants 
to cut moss fuel on the estate of Logie. 

The Gordon families of Corrachree and 
Logie never recovered from the losses they 
sustained during the civil wars ; and the former, 
being under heavy money obligations to the 
Laird of Auchindoir, was ultimately, about 1680, 
obliged to sell him his property, which after- 
wards appears in the valuation rolls as: "The 
Laird of Auchindoir's lands *\ To the first 
proprietor of the second family of Lumsden there 
is in the old churchyard of Cushnie a tombstone 
thus inscribed : " Within this wall are buried the 
Ashes of Robert Lumsden of Corrachree, who 
was married to Agnes Forbes of Skellater. He 
died April the 20th, 1710. This stone was 
erected opposite to his grave by his eldest son, 
James. Solum salus per Christum." 

A few years before the above date, probably 
about 1700, the Laird of Auchindoir had ex- 
cambed Corrachree for the lands of Caimdyne in 
the old parish of Kinerny. 

174 Corrachree Proprietors, 

James Lumsdeu of Corrachree, above named, 
was minister of Towie, and was succeeded in 
Corrachree by his son Robert 

This Robert wrote some clever satires, the best 
known of which are, Jane of Bograore, and The 
Hwmoura of the Forest^ a CoTnedy. Both are a 
little grotesque, as the manner of the time was, 
but the incidents are founded on facts ; and the 
d/ramatia personcn are real characters only 
slightly disguised. The subject of the former is 
the courting of " Jane of Bogmore " — Bogmore is 
now Strathmore, on the way from Tarland to 
Aboyne. Jane had seven or eight suitors for her 
hand, of whom the young Laird of Corrachree, 
her cousin, was one ; and there was no end of 
rivalry between them — all which is described in 
quaint scriptural language. Jane, on the advice 
of her mother, elected to marry Mr. George 
Forbes, the founder of the Copper Company in 
Aberdeen, whom the disappointed writer in his 
spleen calls a '' coppersmith " and sometimes a 

In the other production, The Huviov/ra of the 
Forest, a Comedy, an old Deeside minister is 
burlesqued under the name of *' Grumble ". It 
appears that Grumble courted the daughter of a 
poor clergyman while he was schoolmaster of 
her father 8 parish ; but, after he got the living 
of the " Pee in the Forest '' (the Parish of Birse), 
Grumble gave his '* poor love " the ** go bye," 

Corrachree Proprietors, 175 

and married the daughter of another minister 
who was in affluent circumstances. 

Many stories and anecdotes are told of this, 
the last of the Lumsden lairds of Corrachree. 
On one occasion, as he was sauntering along the 
road near Tarland, the Earl of Fife on his 
journey from Duff House drove up and asked 
him the way to Braemar. Lumsden, who knew 
that it was the earl, although the earl did not 
know him, gave his lordship a minute description 
of all the turnings and windings of the road, to 
which the earl replied : " I suppose I cannot go 
wrong, sir ". " Oh yes, you can, my lord, if you 
be poositive," replied the laird, which answer 
became a local proverb — " You can go wrong, if 
you be poositive, as the Laird of Corrachree said 
to Lord Fife". Lumsden then turning on his 
heels ejaculated, but not so low as not to be 
heard by his lordship, " That's a real Scotsman : 
he speirs the wai he kens best," which also 
became a proverb. 

The estate of Corrachree was bought from the 
executors of this Robert Lumsden by George, 
ninth Marquis of Huntly — then Earl of Aboyne 
— about the year 1808. In 1842 it was acquired 
by the late Lieut-Colonel John Farquharson, of 
the TuUochcoy family, and by him bequeathed 
to his nephew, Colonel John Farquharson, the 
present esteemed proprietor. 

176 Other Properties. 


Of the other properties in the district there is 
not much to record beyond what has already 
been stated. Pittentag^art, a small lairdship, 
or wadset, is held by a family of the name of 
Reid. Pitellachie, sometimes called the barony 
of Kinaldie, or the Wester barony, the Easter 
Daughs and Melgum were purchased by the 
Invercauld family about 1670-80 from the 
previous Forbes proprietors. Deskry is believed 
to have fallen to them by inheritance, but this 
is doubtful. Easter Migvie, now Hopewell, was 
also purchased by Invercauld from Dr. Fair- 
bairn in 1779 ; and a jwrtion of the Moor of 
Coynach fell to that family by judicial allocation 
in 1828. For a long time the Invercauld family 
were the largest proprietors in Logie-Coldstone. 
Their lands were sold in 1865 — Pitellachie and 
Deskry to William B. Coltman, Esq., the Easter 
barony to the late John Duguid Milne, and 
Hopewell to the late Dr. Robertson. 

The Braes, as we have seen, was sold to the 
Eiarl of Aboyne and by him made over to his 
son, Lord Strathavon, along with Wateraim and 
Blackmill. This Lord Strathavon was grand- 
father to the present Marquis of Huntly, by 
whose trustees the Braes and Kinnord were sold 
to Mr. Wilson, shipowner, Hull. 

Wateraim holds some place in literature, being 

1793 A-^- ^^^ Statistical Account, 177 

the scene of a short poem by Francis Douglas, 
author of a work of considerable merit, entitled 
History of the East Coast of Scotland, and for 
some time editor of the Aberdeen Journal, The 
poem opens with the lines : — 

When merry Charles the sceptre swayed, 
And none through fear or love obeyed, 
There lived a lass in Waterairn, etc. 

Mr. Douglas's, writings are now rare, and 
much valued Probably the reason for his 
selecting Waterairn as the scene of his poem, 
was that he was descended from that family of 
Douglases who were proprietors of that estate 
for some generations during the latter part of 
the seventeenth and earlier part of the eighteenth 


Just about a century, or to be precise, ninety- 
seven years after the date of the Poll Book, we 
have a very comprehensive account of all the 
parishes in Scotland, furnished by the several 
ministers at the instance of Sir John Sinclair, 
Bart This work is styled The Statistical 
Account of Scotland. To distinguish it from 
another similar work published in 1842, it is now 
known under the name of The Old Statistical 

178 Old Statistical Account. 

Account. It occupied four years in its compila- 
tioa The description of the parish of Logie- 
Coldstone was written in the year 1793 by the 
Rev. Robert Farquharson, minister of the parish, 
from whose account we make the following ex- 
tracts : — 

" Logie-Coldstone parish is thirty-eight miles 
distant from Aberdeen. It lies in the upper 
part of the country called Cromar, a corruption 
of the word Cruievar, which in the Gaelic 
signifies 'the bught of Mar*. The country is 
surrounded by a large ridge of hills, and is in 
the form of a bught or fold for holding cattle. 
The district is about three and a half miles from 
east to west, and about six from south to north. 
The soil is various. The interior part of the 
country is interspersed with a number of small 
hills, and large barren moors, a great many of 
which retain the marks of cultivation, by the 
remains of furrows and fences ; but the ground 
is now so reduced by that barbarous practice of 
casting muck-peat and turf (that is, the surface) 
that it produces nothing in general, but a short 
worthless kind of heath. Near the manse there 
is a small plantation of fir wood ; to the south 
and east of the church there are five of the same 
kind. Some farms on the east and west side 
of the manse, called the Easter and Wester 
Baronies, and lands of Wateraim, are a fine rich 
deep loam ; and, though very capable of im- 

Old Statistical Account. 179 

provement, are all in a state of nature, except 
the farms of Kinaldie, Coldstone, and part of 
that of Loanhead. The first is all enclosed, and 
some of the fields straighted and dressed ; the 
second was enclosed by the heritor about four- 
teen years ago, and lies in natural grass, on 
which he pastures his own cattle in summer 
and harvest ; a part of the third, which lies near 
the manse, is enclosed and improved. On the 
east and west sides of the church the ground is 
light and sandy, a great part of it of a very 
poor quality ; in advancing farther from the 
church, towards the south-east extremity, the 
soil is of a fine rich loam. That part of the 
parish called Deskrie Side, which lies on the 
north side of the hills, is of a cold wet mossy 
nature, and very subject to frost and mildews. 

" Climate, Rivulets, Springs, etc. — The air is 
accounted salubrious. The frost in winter is 
often very intense, though the country is not 
near so stormy as the neighbouring parishes to 
the north and west of it, such as Towie, Glen- 
bucket and Strathdon. There are three rivulets 
in the district which fall into the Dee in the 
parish of Aboyne. They are so small in summer 
that they require gathered dams to drive the 
meal mills, of which there are five in the interior 
part of the district, and one on Deskrie Side, 
driven by a bum, the one side of which, for two 
miles, belongs to this parish. It falls into the 

i8o Old Statistical Account, 

Don about a mile below the church of Strathdon. 
They all abound with fine trout. There is a loch 
on the south side of this district, called Loch- 
davon. It is about two and a half miles in cir- 
cumference ; it abounds with pike, some of them 
of a large size. A good many of them are taken 
with bait in summer. There is a mineral spring 
in the parish, a little to the south of the church, 
called Poldow, which in the Gaelic signifies *a 
black pool ' ; the water of which, some years ago, 
was much and successfully used for scorbutic and 
gravelish disorders. It is now much deserted, 
since the wells of Pananich (which are four miles 
distant) were discovered. Great crowds of the 
country people still resort to Poldow, and drink 
of the water for all disorders. 

" Antiquities, Game, etc. — There are Druidical 
fanes in different parts of the parish. Few 
parishes in Scotland abound more with a greater 
variety of game, such as hares, snipe, moor-fowl, 
partridges, woodcock, a few blackcock, tarmagans 
and white hares ; the two latter are always to be 
found on the hill of Morven, which in the Gaelic 
signifies * a large hill '. It is one of the highest 
hills in Scotland ; it bounds a part of the parish 
on the west. There are likewise great numbers 
of wild ducks and geese, which in late seasons 
destroy a great part of the crop which grows on 
the low grounds. 

" Population. — According to Dr. Webster's re- 

Old Statistical Account. i8i 

port (1755), the number of souls then was 1243. 
The state of the parish, with respect to popula- 
tion, cannot be traced far back. The writer of 
this was settled here in 1779 ; the number of 
inhabitants since that time is considerably de- 
creased At that period, all the farms were 
occupied by tenants and sub-tenants ; but at 
present there are about twenty families quite 
extirpated, and their possessions in natural grass. 
In 1780 there were 1300 souls in the parish, at 
present (1793) there are 1182. The annual 
average of births since 1780 is twenty-three ; of 
marriages, ten. The people follow, in general, the 
occupation of husbandry. There are two smiths, 
one carpenter, two shoemakers and four shop- 
keepers, who sell small articles for the good of 
the country. The chief manufacture, till about 
1789, was that of knitting stockings by the 
women, the wool brought by manufacturers from 
Aberdeen. For three years past, spinning on the 
two-handed wheel is much introduced and found 
more profitable. The lint is given out to spin, 
just in the same way as the wool, by manu- 
facturers from Aberdeen, Brechin, and as far 
south as Dundee. The whole inhabitants are 
members of the Established Church, and speak 
all the dialect of English common in the north of 

"Agriculture. — Oats and common bear are 
the principal productions of the parish; some 

1 82 Old Statistical Account. 

pease and rye are also raised ; but the quantity 
of these kinds of grain is but small, when com- 
pared with oats and bear. Potatoes are of late 
cultivated by every family, whether of farmers 
or labourers, for their own subsistence; a few 
turnips are sown, some in drills and some in 
broadcast ; but for want of enclosures, as winter 
herding is not introduced, they must be pulled 
before they come to much perfection. The old 
Scots plough is almost universally used Some 
of the most substantial tenants put twelve oxen 
in the plough, others ten, others eight ; the poorer 
some two horses and two cows, some of them 
one horse, two cows, and two small oxen. Clover 
and rye-grass have been cultivated on the farms 
of Kinaldy, Blelachy, and Lonhead, with great 
success; but nowhere else, except in gardens, 
for want of enclosures. Many of the farmers 
begin to raise flax ; and as there are now two 
lint-mills erected in two of the neighbouring 
parishes, Towie and Coull, it is thought it will 
turn out a very profitable crop. There are a good 
many sheep reared in the parish, the greater part 
of them of the black-faced kind ; they sell from 
£7 to £13 the score. Black cattle are very much 
degenerated for want of grass. The farmers send 
them all, except a few milk cows, to pasture in 
glens every year about Whitsunday for three 
months ; and since the sheep became numerous, 
they generally return as poor as when they went 

Old Statistical Account. 183 

away. In 1780 there were five or six cartn in 
this parish ; now, in 1793, there are about 
thirty. There are at present four heritors in the 
parish, Lord Aberdeen, Lord Strathavon, James 
Farquharson of Invereauld, and Charles Gordon 
of Blelack. The latter is the only residing 
heritor. The valued rent of the parish is £2783 
Scots. Real rent £782 lOs., 344 bolls 2 firlots 
meal, 181 bolls 1 firlot bear. The rents of the 
principal estates are demanded when due, with 
certification that if the last farthing is not paid 
the tenants (very few of them having tacks) 
must remove at the first term of Whitsunday. 
To avoid this evil, numbers of them sell meal 
and bear for ready money, which they have not 
to deliver, and at that instant buy the same back 
from the one they sold it to at five shillings and 
three shillings and sixpence the boll of additional 
price, payable nine months after. Such as have 
the victual to deliver, are obliged to thresh out 
their crop before they have use for the straw : 
by which means they lose a great deal of it, 
carrying it out of their bams and building it up 
in their yards, and it becomes dry and insipid 
for their cattle. By this uncommon kind of 
traffic, numbers are reduced to very low circum- 
stances. All the consolation they have is, the 
one half of them is taught by civil, the other by 
moral law, that * whom the Lord loves He chas- 
tises '. Lord Strathavon, who got his father Lord 

184 Old Statistical Account. 

Aboyne*8 property in this country made over to 
him two or three years ago, has altered the terms 
of payment of rents from Martinmas till the 8th 
or middle of February, and from Whitsunday 
till the middle of August ; by which his tenants 
have an opportunity of making the best of their 
victual and cattle, and now pay their rents with 
much greater ease and advantage than they did 
formerly. If this plan were adopted by heritors 
in general in this country, it would be of the 
greatest consequence to their tenants in general, 
who depend chiefly on the produce of their crops 
for the greater part of their rents. Improve- 
ments in agriculture will never take place in 
this parish until leases are granted and en- 
couragement given for houses and enclosing ; till 
that happen the poor farmer will be obliged to 
adopt the old mode of cultivation, whether right 
or wrong, though the climate and soil in general 
are such as would produce good crops of any 
kind of grain used in the north of Scotland. At 
present the farm-houses are worth very little, 
and the mode of living very mean; dwelling- 
houses, when valued on the removal of a tenant, 
are appreciated from 16s. to £1 5s., sub-tenants* 
from 58. to lOs. 

" Stipend, School, Poor — ^Logie-Coldstone is 
a vice-patronage ; the Crown and Invercauld 
present alternately. The annual stipend modified 
in 1793 is £45 2a Id. and 111 bolls of victual, 

Old Statistical Account. 185 

32 of which are bear, and 2 glebes. The church 
waH rebuilt in 1780, the manse and kitchen in 
1783; the office houses are in a ruinous state. 
There is only one school The salary is 100 
merks ; the number of scholars in winter is from 
fifty to eighty, owing to the school being con- 
tiguous to a great part of the parish of TuUich, 
which lies within Cromar, and that of Migvie, 
where there is no school but that of Coldstone 
adjacent to either. The school is kept in the 
old manse, where the schoolmaster lives; in 
summer the number of scholars seldom exceeds 
ten or twelve. The number of poor on the 
parish roll is usually from twenty-eight to thirty- 
five. The only fund for their support, which 
amounted to £35 sterling, was in the hands of a 
gentleman who failed in circumstances and is 
since dead All that was recovered of the money 
was £6, so that the poor have nothing now but 
that and the weekly collections to depend upon. 
Invercauld has been in the regular practice of 
sending money to divide among them annually 
since 1783 ; the sum is usually £11 sterling." 

The Rev. Robert Farquharson afterwards 
wrote to Sir John Sinclair a rather remarkable 
letter, which Sir John published as an appendix 
to his report. From several entries in the 
session books it appears that Mr. Farquharson 
had considerable skill in medicine and gave his 
services ungrudgingly as a medical adviser to 

1 86 Old Statistical Account. 

his parishioners. It would appear that at one 
time opium was a drug he largely used, probably 
because he was experimenting with it upon 
himself. The letter is as follows : — 

"There is a very uncommon and particular 
circumstance in my case which I shall mention 
to you (knowing you to be a friend to mankind). 
I have for a long time been distressed with a 
disorder in my stomach; about five years ago 
I was advised to take (when much pained) 
twenty-five drops of laudanum once a day, and 
to increase the quantity gradually. My distress 
was such, that it made me attend regularly to 
the prescription, as it gave me momentary relief, 
so that at the end of four years I came on to 
twelve and often fourteen teaspoonfuls the day ; 
the effects of which, along with my complaint, 
reduced me to mere skin and bone, and made 
me as yellow as an orange. I consulted Dr. 
CuUen when I began to take the laudanum, who 
did not disapprove of it; but on finding it 
breaking in fast on my constitution (which was 
originally good) I applied to Dr. Monro, who 
gave me for answer, 'that laudanum was a 
certain, though slow poison'. This determined 
me, though in a very reduced state, to diminish 
the quantity ten teaspoonfuls a day. The sudden 
transition bore very hard upon me, to such a 
degree that it was the belief of every one who 
saw me that I could not live many days. Dr. 

Churchyards. 187 

Thomas Morison in London (who was my early 
acquaintance) came to this country in August 
last, and advised me (if possible) to abandon the 
laudanum, but to do it gradually; he sent me 
some doses of the shavings of steel to take three 
times a day, which I continued to do with such 
success that I can now with pleasure say that I 
have not tasted laudanum for four months past, 
and am become stout and fat." 


Churchyard of Logie. — We have already in 
the preceding pages frequently referred to this 
churchyard in connection with the lairds of 
Blelack. We may, however, add the following 
observations by Mr. Jervise — Epitaphs and 

** The burial ground of Logie lies in the Vale 
of Cromar, near Loch Kinnord. It is kept in 
good order, protected by a stone wall, and con- 
tains a number of gravestones. Within a walled 
enclosure, called the Blelack Howff, lie (un- 
marked by any monument) the Gordons, who 
were lairds of Blelack from an early part of the 
sixteenth century. 

" The last laird was out in the '45, and many 
anecdotes are told of his hairbreadth escapes 
from the Royalists, which appear to have been 
chiefly eflected by the personal strength and 

i88 Churchyards. 

daring of his henchman, M'Connach, whom he 
rewarded by a long and cheap lease of an ad- 
joining farm. The last direct survivor of 
M*Connach is the Reverend Hugh M'Connach, 
the ex-schoolmaster of Alford, one of the finest 
living examples of the old school, whether as to 
kindness of heart, individuality of character, or 
honesty of purpose. 

'* In speaking of the rebel laird of Blelack, it 
may be added that the fairies abode in the 
Seely Howe, a hollow in the Came Hillock, 
upon that property, and, before leaving for the 
wars of the '45, the laird determined to dislodge 
them from his lands, and employed for that 
purpose a reputed magician named John 
Farquharson, tacksman in Parka The fairies, 
however, refused to obey his spell, until he 
should assign them some other place of abode, 
which he did by sending them to the Hill of 
Fare, near Banchory ! But, disliking their new 
quarters very much (the superstitious aver), the 
fairies pronounced this imprecation upon 
Gordon : — 

"Dool, dool to Blelack, 

And dool to Blelack's heir, 

For drivin' us frae the Seely Howe, 

To the cauld Hill o' Fare I 

" The malediction of the fairies against 
Farquharson was still more eldritch: — 

Churchyards. 189 

** While corn and girs grows to the air, 
John Farquharson and his seed shall thrive nae 

" It is added that Farquharson, whose circum- 
stances went to the bad from the day he dis- 
lodged the fairies, left his native country and 
was never again heard of. Matters also went 
ill with the Gordons." 

There are several other old tombstones besides 
those already incidentally noticed. One bears 
the following inscription : — 

" Here lies John M'Laggan, who died in New- 
grodie, and Margaret Ley, his spouse ; also 
William M'Laggan, their lawful son, who de- 
parted this life March 20, 1794, aged 28. 

" Unmarked by trophies of the great and vain, 

Here sleeps in silent tombs an honest train ; 

No folly wasted their paternal store, 

No guilt, no sordid avarice, made it more ; 

With honest fame and sober plenty crowned 

They liv'd and spread their cheering influence round." 

The representative of this family is now Mr. 
James M'Laggan, agent for the Town and County 
Bank, Torphins. 

Among others of more recent date may be 
noticed the stones indicating the burying ground 
of a family of Camerons. originally coming from 
Glengaim, who settled in Cromar about the 
beginning of the present century, and from 

I go Churchyards. 

whom have recently sprung two brothers of 
considerable note. The younger, Andrew R 
Cameron, M.D., was one of the most distin- 
guished students of his time in the Aberdeen 
University ; and, after practising his profession 
in his native vale of Cromar and afterwards in 
Banchory, emigrated to New South Wales, where 
he died 18th October, 1876, leaving most of his 
means for the establishment of a Medical Scholar- 
ship in the Edinburgh University. His brother, 
Rev. James Cameron, D.D., still survives, now 
Presbyterian minister at Richmond, New South 

Churchyard of Coldstone. — One of the 
oldest legible inscriptions is that at the east end 
of the chancel or aisle on a stone in the centre of 
which are the Forbes* arms, with initials, R.F. 
and M.C. This inscription runs round the 
margin: — 

" Here lies Mr. Robert Forbes, minister of 
Coldstone, who departed out of this lyfe XII of 
Janvarie 16-5 " (1675). 

According to Lumsden of Tilliekeme, he was 
a member of the Balfluig family. After the 
death of two successors {Scott's Fasti) y the living 
was held in succession by the ministers whose 
deaths are recorded in the next five inscriptions. 

" This Robert Forbes, who was the son of 
James Forbes of Cloak — now Glenmillan in 
Lumphanan — ^graduated at the University and 

Churchyards. 191 

Kings College, Aberdeen, in 1643, admitted 
before 17th Oct, 1654, died 12th Jan., 1675, 
aged about 52 ". 

The next minister of Logie-Coldstone, who 
was the Rev. John Forbes, A.M., son of Patrick 
Forbes of Blackball, and great-grandson of 
Alexander, sixth Laird of Pitsligo, had his degree 
from the University and King s College, 9th 
July, 1668, admitted previous to 6th March, 
1677 ; but, as he was translated to Kincardine 
O'Neil about 1680, there is no tombstone in 
memory of him in this churchyard. Neither is 
there one to his successor, Thomas Alexander, 
A.M., who was laureated at the University and 
Kings College, Aberdeen, 4th July, 1682 ; ad- 
mitted before 1688 ; died 6th July, 1715, aged 
fifty-three. A son, Alexander of Jackstoun, was 
served heir 14th January, 1724 ; another son, 
Thomas, was in Invereman, and a daughter, 
Margaret, married John Forbes of Invereman. 

The next tombstone to a clergyman of the 
parish is thus inscribed : — 

'*In memory of the Rev. John Shepherd, 
minister of Logie-Coldstone, who, after he spent 
his life in love to God and mankind, dyed March 
1st, 1748, aged 74 ". 

Mr. Shepherd, who was translated from 
Midmar to Logie-Coldstone, had at least two 
sons and two daughters. One daughter married 
Forbes of Bellabeg, and became the mother of 

192 Churchyards. 

the Rev. George Forbes of Lochel, and of John 
Forbes, afterwards of Newe. The second 
daughter, who married Gordon of Crathienaird, 
was the mother of the late Rev. Mr. Gordon of 
Aboyne. The sons were both clergymen. One 
was settled first at Tarland and next at New- 
battle, while the other went to Bourtie. A son 
of the last mentioned became minister of Daviot, 
and by his wife, a daughter of Dr. Garioch of 
Qariochsford, he ha<l a pretty large family. One 
son, Captain John, was some time Chairman of 
the Board of Directors of the East India 
Company ; and another, Thomas, laird of Kirk- 
ville, in Skene, was also an officer in the 
company's marine service. 

The next is inscribed as follows : — 

** Here lye the remains of the Rev. Mr. John 
Mclnnes, late minister of the Gospel at Logie- 
Coldstone, who died the 10th October, 1777, in 
the 62nd year of his ministry, and the 88th of 
his age. 

" Helen Forbes, spouse of the Rev. Mr. John 
Mclnnes, minister of Logie-Coldstone, who died 
on the 26th of Deer., 1774, aged 71 years." 

He was translated from Crathie, being 
presented by George II. in August and ad- 
mitted 19th October, 1748. He died. Father of 
the Church, 2l8t October, 1777, in his 88th year 
and 63rd of his ministry. He married, first, 
Mary, daughter of Mr. James Strachan, minister 

Ch u rchyn rds. 193 

of Oyne ; secondly, Helen, daughter of Mr. 
William Forbes, minister of Tarves. 

The next clergyman's tombstone bears : — 
"Beneath this stone are interred the remains 
of the Rev. Robert Farquharson of AUargue, 
minister of Logie-Coldstone, who died 5th 
January, 1826, in the 78th year of his age and 
56th of his ministry, and also those of his spouse, 
Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. James Innes, 
minister of Marnoch, who died the 31st August, 
1836. aged 76 *'. 

The following is an extract from Scott's Fasti, 
from which work most of the above particulars 
have been obtained: ** Robert Farquharson, 
A.M., transl. from Kirkmichael, Abemethy, pres. 
by James Farquharson, Esq., of Invercauld, 13th 
Dea, 1777, and adm. 3d Nov., 1779. (Delay arose 
from a competition regarding the patronage, 
which was claimed also both by the Crown and 
Charles, Earl of Aboyne, against whom the Court 
of Session decided 5th February and 17th July 
of the latter year.) Mr. F. got a new church built 
in 1780, and died 5th Jan., 1826, in his 78th year 
and 54th min. He marr., 14th Dec, 1779, 
Elizabeth, daugh. of Mr James Innes, min. of 
Marnoch ; she died 14th Nov., 1838,* and had five 
sons and two daughters. Francis, Major-General 
in H.E.I.C.S., Charles, George, Robert, thread 

* This is the date given in Scott's Fasti, but the 
correct date is that on the tombstone (as above). 


194 Churchyards, 

manufacturer, Paisley, the Rev. Dr. John, of 
Rathven, Jane, who marr. Lieut. William Black, 
adjutant in the Bombay Marine Service, and 
Mary Ann, James Black, EJsq. — Publication — 
Account of the Parish (Sinclair's St. Ace. IX.)." 

The next bears the pathetic inscription : — 

" In memory of the Rev. Andrew Tawse, for 
7 years minister at Grey Friars' Church of 
Aberdeen, who, in the 8th year of his ministry 
in this parish, and 47th of his age, while con- 
ducting the solemn service of God*s House, on 
Sunday, 15th Dec, 1833, was called from the 
faithful discharge of his pastoral duties, and 
expired in presence of his sorrowing people '*. 

Mr. Tawse, who was sometime tutor in the 
Whitehouse family, had a taste for painting and 
music, and it was through the influence of the 
Farquharsons that he got the kirk of Logie- 
Coldstone. He was a native of Aberdeen, where 
his father was a well-to-do flax-dresser. 

The next and last of the clergymen's tomb- 
stones bears the following : — 

" In memory of the Rev. John McHardy, for 
32 years minister of this parish. Bom 13th 
Jan., 1785 ; died 17th Jan., 1866." 

Mr. McHardy, descended from an old family 
long resident in Dalgergie in Strathdon, took 
his degree of M.A. at the University and King's 
College, Aberdeen, 28th March, 1803, was licensed 
by the Presbytery of Caithness 19th June, 1810, 

Churchyards. 195 

and ordained as assistant to the Rev. Charles 
McHardy, minister of Crathie, 1st May, 1816. 
Here he served for many years with much 
acceptance, both as assistant minister and school- 

In the month of March, 1834, he was presented 
to this parish by Mrs. Farquharson of Invercauld, 
and admitted on the 18th of June following. 
He is the author of the New Stat Ace. of the 
parish, 1842. He died unmarried. 

Of a large family, of which he was the eldest 
son, none now remain in the male line. A 
sister, named Ann, married Alexander Davidson, 
farmer, Torgalter, Crathie, who has left a family, 
of whom the Rev. George Davidson, LL.D., now 
minister of Logie-Coldstone, is the only surviv- 
ing son. 

Until lately, no tombstone recorded the death 
of any proprietor; but on a rising piece of 
ground near the gate there has lately been 
erected within a railing an elegant " lona Cross " 
in granite, which is thus inscribed : — 

" I lay me down and take my rest. 

" Sacred to the memory of John Farquharson 
of Coirachree, Lieut.-Colonel, H.E.I.C.S. Died 
19th July, 1871." 

Colonel Farquharson married a sister of Mr. 
Andrew Farquharson of Whitehouse in Tough, 
whose decease is also recorded on the same monu- 
ment : — 

196 Churchyards. 

"Sacred to the memory of Margaret 
Farquharson Wife of Lieut^ Colonel John 
Farquharson of Corrachree who departed this 
life on the 1st May 1888 to the great grief of 
her brother and sister who cordially join in 
offering this humble tribute of affection ". 

Mr. Farquharson of Whitehouse has now also 
passed away and with him the last representa- 
tive of the Invereye branch of the Farquharsons, 
as transmitted through the Whitehouse family. 
Colonel Farquharson of Corrachree was the re- 
presentative of the same ancient branch through 
the TuUochcoy family, being a grandson of the 
last owner of that property. " His mother, Isa- 
bella M' Hardy, who belonged to Cabrach, had a 
nephew, sometime Sheriff-substitute of Lanark- 
shire, and his eldest daughter is now (1875) the 
wife of Mr. Merry, M.P. for the Falkirk Burghs." 

On a granite obelisk : — 

" In Memory of Francis Beattie, A.M., for 49 
years Schoolmaster of this parish. Bom Ist 
Jany., 1785, died 24th Septr., 1855. Erected by 
his grateful and attached pupils who mourn in 
him a zealous teacher, a wise counsellor, and a 
constant friend" 

Mr. Beattie, who was a native of the Braes, 
had considerable reputation as a teacher, which 
drew to the school many pupils from a distance. 
In his youth he was accounted an athlete ; but 
about the time of his appointment as school- 

Churchyards. 197 

master he lost the entire use of his nether limbs, 
and could not in school even move from his desk 
without assistance, notwithstanding which he 
never failed to maintain the strictest discipline. 

On a granite headstone : — 

" To the memory of the Rev. James Wattie, 
M.A., parish schoolmaster of Crimond from 1813 
to 1856, also tenant of the farm of Bellastraid in 
this parish — to which he latterly retired— where 
he had been bom, and where he died 31st July, 
1872, aged 83 years ". 

Mr. Jervise, who knew him well, gives this 
account of him: ** In early life Mr. Wattie be- 
came a tutor in the Island of Eig, where he 
acquired some knowledge of the Gaelic language, 
and a taste for traditional lore. He afterwards 
cultivated the latter gift with considerable 
success ; and it is to be regretted that he did 
not commit his knowledge on these matters to 

" His own sayings and doings would form a 
chapter rich in the curiosities of human char- 
acter. He was tall and rather spare in peraon. 
When he went abroad in his own neighbourhood 
he generally carried a statf nearly as long as 
himself — the gift of his early and life-long 
friend, Sir Alexander Anderson, Lord Provost of 
Aberdeen — and wore a heavy cloak, which, even 
in the warmest days of summer, covered no end 
of flannels and greatcoats. Although learned, 

1 98 Chu rchya rds . 

well read, and of a sociable disposition, he is 
said t)o have been more frequently seen than 
welcomed by his friends. 

" Mr. Wattie was exceedingly vain of the at- 
tentions of the great, and seldom lost an oppor- 
tunity of thrusting himself into their presence. 
It is told that, soon after he became a preacher, 
he was introduced to Lord Aberdeen, afterwards 
Premier, and' that his lordship signified his in- 
tention to procure a church for him. Mr. Wattie 
allowed few chances to pass without reminding 
his lordship of his promise by letter ; but, as 
writing proved ineffectual, he determined to 
make personal application. In course of time an 
opportunity occurred, and upon Lord Aberdeen's 
remarking that the church sought after was 
scarcely suited for Mr. Wattie, the latter, in his 
own blunt way, is said to have inquired, * Then, 
my lord, what sort of church do you think 
would suit me ? ' to which it is said the earl 
laconically replied, * The Lord only knows ! ' 

" It is pleasing, however, to have to add that, 
though he did not recognise his gifts as a preacher, 
his lordship perceived his skill as a farmer, and 
when Mr. Wattie came to reside as his tenant at 
Bellastraid he gave him every encouragement, 
and left nothing undone to make his latter years 

Although in this description Mr. Wattle's 
foibles may be somewhat overdrawn, he had 

Churchyards. 199 

many good qualities deserving of commemora- 
tion. Notwithstanding his peculiarities he never 
lost his self-respect or the respect and friendship 
of his neighbours. He always comported himself 
with dignity ; and his intelligence and worldly 
wisdom gained him much influence among the 
class of farmers around him. In the promotion 
of all local improvements he took a leading part, 
and was generally selected to represent his parish 
at the public boards of the district. The Dinnet 
and Coldstone public road will long bear testi- 
mony to his persevering zeal in the cause of 
improvements. He gave the proprietors whose 
estates were to be benefited by it no rest until 
they took the matter up ; and he himself went 
throughout the neighbouring parishes delivering 
lectures, the proceeds of which were devoted to 
this road fund. The subjects of some of these 
lectures were : " The Ballads of Scotland," " Folk- 
lore of Aberdeenshire," and " Manners and Cus- 
toms of its Rural Population Sixty Years Ago/' 
with all of which he was conversant in no ordinary 
degree. Although he could not be induced to 
publish these lectures, it is not quite correct to 
say that he did not commit to writing the sub- 
stance of several of them. To the present writer's 
knowledge, he compiled a manuscript volume, 
clasely and neatly written, for the purpose of pre- 
senting it to the Marquis of Huntly, for whom 
he entertained a very high regard. His lordship 

200 New Statistical Account. 1842 a.d. 

was pleased to accept the gift, and is known to 
place no small value on his possession of it. 

With a keen sense of the ludicrous and 
humorous Mr. Wattie had stored his memory 
with a multitude of racy anecdotes of eminent 
persons and queer characters, which he had 
always at command at social meetings ; and 
which never failed of high appreciation. Most 
of these have died with him ; the more is the 
pity. He himself was a type of character now 
rarely to be met with, of which the same obser- 
vation may be made. 


Of the other remains of antiquity in the parish 
the New Stat, Ace. takes note of a pict's house, 
a little to the north-east of the church, of several 
cairns, particularly one at Caimmore of Migvie, 
and another at Caimmore of Blelack, both of 
wluch have now disappeared, the materials 
having been used for the erection of enclosures 
and farm steadings in the neighbourhood Near 
the pict's house referred to, Mr. McHardy states 
that "during the last season (1841) the tenant 
of Cairnmore of Blelack, while ploughing a field 
which has long been arable, found the plough 
striking against a stone which he resolved to 
remove, and on proceeding to do so discovered 
that it formed part of a paved road of consider- 

New Statistical Account. aoi 

able width, the extent of which has not yet been 
ascertained In removing part of the stones 
forming the pavement, numerous pieces of 
charred wood were found lying beneath them." 

The following particulars extracted from Mr. 
McHardy's account may still be of interest : — 

" Landowners. — The heritors of the parish, in 
order of their respective valuations, are : — 

Mrs. Farquharson of Invercauld, . 

Earl of Aberdeen, 

Marquis of Huntly, 

John Forbes, Esq. of Blelack, 
Major Farquharson of Corrachree, 

" Modern Buildinqb. — The church was rebuilt 
in 1780, the manse in 1783, and repaired and 
enlarged in 1826. 

" There are three meal-mills, one circular saw- 
mill, and numerous threshing-mills in the parish. 

" Population : — 

Amount of population in 1801, 861 

1811, 815 

1821, 858 

1831, 910 

1841, 936 

'* Number of illegitimate births within last 

three years, ten. 








202 New Statistical Account, 

** Industry. — In few districts in Scotland has 
agriculture made greater progress than it has 
done in this parish since the former statistical 
account of the country was published. At that 
period, we are told that few turnips were sown, 
and clover and rye grass cultivated only on three 
farms. The other lands in the parish, though 
capable of improvement, are said to have been 
' in a state of nature '. The farms at that time, so 
distinguished for enclosing, straighting, and dress- 
ing, can no longer boast of superiority of appear- 
ance or peculiarity of produce ; for skilful and 
successful competitors have gradually sprung up 
around them, and stripped them of their honoura. 
There are in the parish about 3000 acres culti- 
vated or occasionally in tillage, and about 900 
acres under wood. The average rent of land 
per acre is £1 5s. ; real rental of the parish, 

"Ecclesiastical State. — The number of 
families in the parish is 190, and all belong to 
the Established Church. Stipend: 128 bolLs 
barley, 128 bolls meal, with £8 6s. 8d. for com- 
munion elements. The glebe is about twelve 
acres in extent, and may be valued at £15. The 
manse was built in 1783; it was repaired and 
additions made to it in 1826. 

** Education. — There is but one school in the 
parish — the parochial. The teachers salary is 
£34 4s. 45d. ; probable amount of his school 

Modern Improvements, 203 

fees, £25. He receives, as session clerk, £1. 10s. 
per annum, and shares in the Dick Bequest. 

** Poor. — Number of poor, eighteen. Average 
annual amount of contributions for their relief, 
£34, whereof, from church collections, £24, from 
alms and legacies, £10." 

We have now reached a point in our historical 
review of the district well within the recollection 
of the older inhabitants and fairly within that 
of those of middle age. The changes that have 
since taken place have been numerous and im- 
portant in many respects. Some of the more 
prominent in regard to proprietorship have al- 
ready been noticed ; others in regard to tenancy 
are better known to the present parishioners 
than to the writer, and need not be recorded 

The advancement in agriculture has been 
mostly in the direction of improvements in im- 
plements of husbandry. There may be some 
old men still amongst us who can remember the 
days of the teethed reaping hook, the wooden 
plough and the flail, and can therefore trace the 
onward progress to the reaping machines, the 
steam plough and the threshing mills of the 
present day. This is a mechanical age rather 
than an agricultural ; and, instead of breeding and 
feeding cattle, we are contriving means to bring 
our meat supply from the uttermost ends of the 
earth to our tables as fresh and good as if it 

204 Byron's Youthful Recollections, 

had been reared on our own fields ; and, instead 
of seeking to improve our breeds of draught, 
saddle and carriage horses, we have made a con- 
siderable step to supersede them altogether. 

For the improvement of the human being 
himself much has been attempted, and it is to be 
hoped, something accomplished. In the depart- 
ments of education and sanitation we have seen 
quite a revolution. Amid all these changes we 
trust there is one respect in which we have re- 
mained unimpaired — in the love of our kindred 
and love of our country. May the day be distant 
when the materialism of this cosmopolitan age 
shall so blunt the sensibilities of the youth reared 
under the shadow of Morven that wherever they 
roam their hearts should fail to be warmed by 
the strains of the youthful Byron, who sang so 
sweetly : — 

When I roved a young Highlander o'er the dark 

And climb'd thy »teep summit, oh Morven of snow ! 
To gaze on the torrent that thunder'd beneath 
Or the mist of the tempest that gather'd below, 
Untutor'd by science, a stranger to fear, 
And rude as the rocks where my infancy grew. 
No feeling, save one, to my bosom was dear ; 
Need I say, my sweet Mary, 'twas center'd in you ? 

Yet it could not be love, for 1 knew not the name, — 
What passion can dwell in the heart of a child ? 
But still 1 perceive an emotion the same 
As I felt, when a boy, on the crag-cover'd wild 

Byron's Youthful Recollections. 205 

One image alone on my boaom impressed, 
I loved my bleak regions, nor panted for new ; 
And few were my wants, for my wishes were bless'd ; 
And pure were my thoughts, for my soul was with 

I rose with the dawn ; with my dog as my guide, 
From mountain to mountain I bounded along; 
I breasted the billows of Dee's rushing tide, 
And heard at a distance the Highlander's song : 
At eve on my heath-covered couch of repose. 
No dreams, save of Mary, were spread to my view ; 
And warm to the skies my devotions arose, 
For the first of my prayers was a blessing on you. 

I left my bleak home, and my visions are gone ; 
The mountains are vanish'd, my youth is no more ; 
As the last of my race, I must wither alone, 
And delight but in days I have witness'd before : 
Ah ! splendour has raised, but embitter'd my lot ; 
More dear were the scenes which ray infancy knew : 
ThoOgh my hopes may have failed, yet they are not 

forgot ; 
Though cold is my heart, still it lingers with you. 

When I see some dark hill point its crest to the sky 
I think of the rocks that o'ershadow Culblean ; 
When 1 see the soft blue of a love-speaking eye, 
I think of those eyes that endear'd the rude scene ; 
When, haply, some light-waving locks I behold, 
That faintly resemble my Mary's in hue, 
I think on the long flowing ringlets of gold, 
The locks that were sacred to beauty, and you. 

2o6 Byron's Youthful Recollections, 

Yet the day may arrive when the mountains once 

Shall rise to my sight in their mantles of snow : 
But while these soar above me, unchanged as before, 
Will Mary be there to receive me? — ah, no I 
Adieu, then, ye hills, where my childhood was bred : 
Thou sweet flowing Dee, to thy waters, adieu ! 
No home in the forest shall shelter my head,— 
Ah 1 Mary, what home could be mine but with you *? 



Abbrdsbn, Earl of, 111, 129. 
Ahoyne, Charles, first Earl of, 100. 
Aimualreutaris, Book of, 43. 
As8enibly. first General, 31. 

Balmoral, 48. 

^* Baron Ban," see Farquharson, 

Baronies, K&ster and Wester, 42. 
Beattie, Francis, schoolmaster, 196. 
"Black Colonel." 102. 
Blackhal. Gilbert, S.J.. 65-73. 
BlackmaU, 52. 74. 
Blelack. Gordons of, 162. 
Blelack, Ownership of, 166-167. 
Bonils of Fidelity. 22. 
Book of Annualrentaris, 4S. 
Braickley. Baron of, 100. 
Brooks, Sir William, Bart., 74. 

Camekariur, U. 

Cess, or War Tax, 130, 131. 

Charles I., Bible of, 148, 149. 

Charters, Land, 23, 24. 

Churchyards, 187-197. 

"Cleansers." 79, 87. 

Coltman, William, Esq,,of De.skry, 

Compensation Courts. 86-95. 
Corrachree, Ownership of, 172, 

173, 176. 
Corrichie, Battle of, 29. 
Covenanter Times, 49-95. 
Cowie, Raid of, 60. 
Cromdale, BaUle of, 103. 
Culbleau, Battle of, 18. 
CHiUoden, Battle of, 141. 

Davidson, Rev. G«orge, LL.D., 

Douglas, Francis, Editor and Poet, 

Dugar, John, 54. 
Dundee. Viscoont, 101. 

Edom o' Gordon, 33, 50. 

Einle Houses, 6. 

Elphinstone, Sir Alexander, 23. 

Fairies, 188. 
Falkirk, Battle of, 121. 
Farquharson Family, 41. 
Farquharsons of Whitehouse, 

Family of. 142. 148. 
Farquharson, Donald, of Moualtrie, 

53. 56, 58, 61, 76. 77, 78. 81-83. 
Farquhar8on,Francis, of Monaltrie, 

120, 141, 150, 151. 153-155. 
Farquharson. James, of White- 

nouse, 62. 
Farquharson, John, Colonel, of 

Corrachree, 175, 195, 196. 
Farquharson, John, of Invercauld, 

64, 108, 117. 
Farquharson, John, of Invereye, 

74, 77, 97. 98, 100, 102.- 
Farquharson. Rev. Rol)ert, 178, 

185-187, 193. 
Feudalism. 20. 
Finla Mor. 41. 

Forbes, Bishop, of Brechin, 11. 
Forbes, "Black Sir Arthur," 34. 
Forbes, Rev. John, 191. 
Forbes, Rev. Robert, 190. 
Frendraucht. Burning of, 51. 

Gauld, Mr. George, 171. 
Gilchrist, Earl of Mar, 16. 
Gilderoy, 58, 54. 
Glencaim Rising, 97-100. 
Gordon, Sir Adam, 33, 50. 
Gordon, Rev. Alexander, 46,47, 94. 
Gordon, Charles, of Blelack, 120, 

124,126-131, 133, 141,155-158, 

Gordon, James, of Balmoral, 48. 
Gordon, John, of Blelack. 117. 
Gordon, John, of Gleubucket, 143, 

150, 152. 



Gordon, Lord Lewis, 58, 120, 122- 

125, 132, 133. 150. 
Gordon , Robert, of Corrachree, 1 72. 
Gordon, William, of Blelack, 163- 1 

166. 168-172. 
Gordons of Blelack, Table of, 162 
Gray, Rev. Andrew, 94, 96. | 

Hill Forts, 5. 

Holyrood, Abbot of, 80. 

Hopewell. 176. 

Huutly, first Marquis of. 52, 53. 

Huntly, George, Earl of, 29. 

INVERURIB, Skirmish at. 132-137. 

Jaoobitr Rising, Dumlee's, 101. 
Jacobite Rising, the '15. 117-119. 
Jacobite Rising, the '45, 119-162. 
Jen'ise, Mr., Antiquar\', 3, 13, 163, 
164, 187. 

Kandkchyi^, Burning of. 73. 
Killiecraukie. 103. 
Kinnord, Fortress of, 85. 
Knockargety, 5. 

Land Charters, 23, 24. 

Lays, 14. 

Lesk, Rev. Jamen, 46. 

Leslie, Charles, Balladmonger, 134- 

Logie-Mar, 2. 
Lunisden, Roliert, of Corrachree. 

Satirist, 174. 175. 

McCoMBiBS. Origin of, 110. 
McConuach, John, Blelack's 

Henchman, 134, 158-160. 
McHardy, Rev. John, 194, 200. 
Mclnnes. Rev. John. 192. 
McLeod, Lairtl of. 132, 133. 
Manrent, 41. 
Mar, Family of, 27. 
Melgum, 176. 
Moir. James, of Stoneywoo<l. 120. 

122. 126. 130. 140, 144-147. 150. 
Money-lending, 44. 47-49. 
Monyniusk, Priory of, 1.^). 

Nril, Dr. James, 128. 

OOHAM, 13. 

Old Machar, Priory of, 16. 
Old Taxatio, 3, 17. 
Ortlie, 112. 

Parishes, Union of, 42. 
Philiphaugh, 85. 
Pitellachie, 176. 
Pittentaggart. 176. 
Poldu, 170, 180. 
Poll Book, 104-114. 

" Red Jock," 128. 
Reformation, 27, 33. 
Reid. Rev. James, 46. 
Rob Roy, 118. 
Robertson, Dr. Joseph, 14. 
Riithvan, 18. 

Scott's Fasti, 190, 193. 

Shephenl, Rev. John. 191. 

Spalding. 60, 64, 66, 78. 79. 87. 

Southask, Earl of, 13. 

St. Nathalan, 9. 

St. Walock, 9. 

Statistical Account. Old, 177-185. 

Statistical Account, New. 195,200- 

Stones, Sculptured, 11. 

Stoueywood Family, 147. 

Stoneywood Papers. 121-131. 

Strachan, John, Parson of Kin- 
cardine, 42. 

Strachan, Patrick, of Kinaldie. 78. 

Stratoun, Rev. David, 46. 

Strauchaue, Rev. James, 44, 45, 47. 

Tawse, Rev. Andrew, 194. 
Taxatio. Tlie Old. 3, 17. 
Tillyangus, Battle of, 34. 
l^irriff, "Ti-otof,"58. 

VoLO(;us, 9. 

Wadset, 44. 

Wattie, Rev. James, 197-200. 

Witch Trials, 35-41. 


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